Filipinos: like a ship lost at sea searching for a beacon

Introduction 

When I visited Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia last year, I saw a banner run across the two Petronas towers with the following words in Malay on it:

Daulat Tuanku 

As soon as I could, I searched on Google what this phrase means. It is more or less the Malay equivalent of the English expression “Long live the King!” that used to be proclaimed in old Western monarchies.

To get up to speed with the federal monarchy system of Malaysia, click here.

I have read blogs and reports that Malaysia’s head of state has changed recently.  The rule of the 14th Yang di-Pertuan Agong just began this month. To our Malaysian friends, may your new head of state guide you with wisdom, justice, and compassion. Frankly, I hope some of it rubs off on our head of state at the same time.

This write-up, however, is not intended to be a commentary on the politics and people of Malaysia. Instead, it is about a sequence of three (3) totally random thoughts which came to mind after remembering the above, and which I will elaborate on below.  Note: they are all about the Philippines.

The concept of nobility in the Philippines 

In Tagalog/Filipino, we have more or less an equivalent to Daulat Tuanku. Mabuhay ang Pangulo/Presidente ng Pilipinas! (Long live the President of the Philippines)! Doesn’t ring a bell? Be honest with yourself: can you scream this at the top of your lungs, without absolutely any second thoughts or impending feeling of disgust whatsoever? If you can, good for you. If not, you’re in good company with many other Filipinos who find that their loyalty to their head of state is not as absolute as it should be.

In monarchies, you will find two concepts that seem alien to us Filipinos but in fact have mutated into sinister forms here: noblesse oblige, and lese-majeste.  Noblesse oblige, literally nobility obliges, is a guiding principle for descendants of nobility to act accordingly with their status, e.g., to help those less fortunate. Lese majeste, on the other hand, is a principle wherein criticizing the ruler of the monarchy is a strictly prohibited crime. It is considered an offense to the dignity of a sovereign or state.

Noblesse oblige is supposed to be a good thing. Uncle Ben in Spiderman said it best: with great power comes great responsibility.  However, as only in the Philippines proves, it turned into something detestable. The first manifestation: the privileged in our society use their position and power to make themselves even more powerful and richer. A clear example: the oligarchs. The second manifestation: balato mentality and mendicancy.  There are many Filipinos who, after seeing another person with money that they don’t have, immediately feel some sort of inggit (envy) and can’t help but say “pa-burger ka naman“ (buy me a burger), as if it’s their entitlement to be treated. It’s so disgusting it makes me want to stuff those bills in their mouths. Gusto mo pala ng balato ha (So, you want a dole-out, hmm?). Mendicancy – the more you help certain Filipinos financially, the more they cling to you like you’re a blessing from above to them (hulog ng langit). Need I say more? Eh kung ihulog kaya kita sa bangin para matauhan kang kumayod? (What if I drop you in a ditch to convince you to work hard?)

That's not a Sieg Heil; that's L for Loser.

We don’t need any lese-majeste laws here in the Philippines; the ostracism that critics to the Aquino administration face from Noytards can make jail time seem tame by comparison. “You don’t support Noynoy? You are a paid-hack. You are a disgrace to the Philippines and its people!” Needless to say, we don’t have a royal family here in the Philippines but all these pathetic Aquino sympathizers worship that family like one. Hell, they even worship Noynoy Aquino and his mother as divine beings that could never do wrong. PNoy himself is not exactly very forthcoming about his mistakes either; at least the King of Thailand has accepted that criticism is vital to improving the monarchy.  Note that Thailand has some of the strictest lese-majeste laws in the world.

I believe that one of the responsibilities of people of privilege is to help bring about stability to their respective societies. This brings me to the second random thought.

Status quo should not be mistaken for stability 

There are a few Aquino apologists who insist that PNoy is bringing about stability to the nation. You can be almost inclined to believe that, except for one thing. If it were real stability, how come many Filipinos still don’t feel that their lives are getting any better? Why did the prices of basic commodities and gasoline keep shooting up for quite some time? Why did transport groups necessarily have to ask for a fare increase?   Why is Mindanao unsatisfied with the solution presented to them with regards to their power situation?

Status quo and stability are two entirely different things. Implicit in the concept of ensuing stability is that some sort of upheaval necessarily precedes it. The race riots that happened in Malaysia in 1969 are such an example of this. While the New Economic Policy that was formulated after this was not perfect, it was one of many steps taken to ensure that Malaysia was on the road to a brighter future. Look where they are now.

In business circles, a question often asked is: how do you differentiate between a manager and leader? One of the most emphasized answers is that a leader creates positive change in an organization. Ask yourself: has PNoy created any positive change? Has he tried to quell all doubts about his decision making? How has he dealt with people who do not necessarily agree with his ideas? I can guess that many of you will answer: no, no, and he ignores them, respectively.  So in effect, PNoy is just maintaining the status quo: and he’s not even doing a good job at it.

It is often said that your character defines your leadership. PNoy was reluctant to run for the presidency in 2010. Read another way, I can infer that he wanted only to be left alone in his happy oligarchic life. Flash forward 2 years and change later, he still doesn’t look into it. The pictures that Malacañang had to run to counter the Noynoying fad are indicative of this. He seems to be wishing for the good ol’ days, in other words, the status quo.

Even without knowing the results of the psychiatric tests of PNoy, one can easily tell that he doesn’t seem very stable. Here is a guy telling everyone about coup attempts against him that even the military was not aware of. Here is a guy implying that he would throw another monumental tantrum if Chief Justice Corona is not convicted. So, how can you expect him to bring about stability?  The way he handled the Mindanao power situation and the aftermath of the summit is very telling. He basically told the people to shell out more money or live in hot darkness, and wagged his middle finger at them. The picture below says a lot about his stability and approach to solving the energy problem:

He's not posing for the camera; that's a NATURAL look.

If PNoy, and by extension, the Filipino people, is incompetent, mediocre, dense, narcissistic, extremely sensitive to criticism, unable to forget the past, unable to think out of the box, and unable to embrace change, then that makes you wonder about the following:

Saving grace: do Filipinos have any? 

Simply put, saving grace refers to any redeeming qualities that people have.
Filipinos are hospitable, friendly with a smile, compassionate, and very good with English compared with our neighbors. That gets them visitors in the door. The question is: are we able to maintain their interest and keep them in the room? Well, if your house is messy, dirty, stinky, and in a general state of disrepair, then you can expect your visitors to want out of the house as quick as possible.

PNoy, on the other hand, had a potential saving grace: a clean slate. His “hindi ako magnanakaw“ (I do not steal) platform in 2010 had a chance to make itself into something better and bigger had he substantiated it with an actual platform underneath. What came out, instead, was “galit ako sa magnanakaw ng lugar ng pamilya ko” (I am angry at those who steal the place of my family, in the spotlight). What came out instead was “ngunit hindi ko mapipigilan ang mga ibang magnanakaw“ (but I am unable to stop others from stealing). Taking a cue from one of my favorite Filipino essays, Emil Jacinto’s Ningning at Liwanag (Glare and Light), I can categorically say that many Filipinos were fooled by the glare into thinking it was the light.

Maybe PNoy has one current saving grace: that he is in fact, “saving Grace (Lee)” from an otherwise humdrum existence of not being attached to a politician (read: rich man).   The price she has to pay, of course, is that every time they see each other she has to deal with situations like the one below:

Mmm…baby, one more time? Please?

If the rumors are true that they’ve broken up, then PNoy has got to be crying in the corner again. “Can I really not do anything right?!”

Epilogue 

I want to bring back a little bit of discussion about Malaysia. Despite the similarity between our two countries (multi-cultural society, an ethnic Malay group whose aversion to work is a problem), it is very apparent that how the two countries turned out now is as different as chalk and cheese. I guess, to a certain extent, that you could say that the colonizers both countries had was a sort of luck of the draw. The Malaysians got the British, who were possibly the more notable colonizers, and arguably invested in preparing their former colonies for life without them. We, on the other hand, got the Spaniards, who brought about disease, simply looted and plundered their colonies, and kept up a general policy of keeping the indios illiterate and under their control.

It didn’t hurt that the ethnic Chinese in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and the Philippines, were all hard-workers themselves. The Bumiputra of the Malays and native Filipinos, have been described as lazy, and unwilling to take risks.

The Spaniards didn’t invent Juan Tamad nor Juan Tanga; they simply gave them names.

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About FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

46 Comments on “Filipinos: like a ship lost at sea searching for a beacon”

  1. “Noblesse oblige is supposed to be a good thing. Uncle Ben in Spiderman said it best: with great power comes great responsibility.  However, as only in the Philippines proves, it turned into something detestable. ”

    I’m wondering how you differentiate hard criticism of the President with that of the coup masters of the past? Where down the slippery slope do you stop if you think the President is damaging? When does he go beyond damaging to dangerous or destructive? How do you ever, knowing the Filipino penchant for black and white judgments, for action with a gun, find stability? Status quo is indeed not stability, but instability is not stability, either.

    And how do you ever get to the kind of democracy that Egyptians are crying out for AGAIN. The kind that delivers up the presidential office for replacement every few years? The kind that ensures there is no lock on power forever? The kind that signifies “from many, one”, the union is strong, even if within the criticism is active.

    Look at the recent turmoil. When has the Philippines had a run of two presidents without one jailing the other, or the generals deciding they know best. The Philippines DESPERATELY needs a run of contentious but calm presidencies, and elections. It needs to grow up, democratically. To attract the wealth that is out there watching very carefully.

    I hold to the view that it is important to suck it up now and then, to put up with a nitwit if necessary or a do-nothing, for the sake of getting to the next election without tearing down the whole concept of democracy that recognizes there is no one “right voice”. There are a bunch of disparate voices, and it is good if they are allowed to speak. Or even, on occasion, be in charge when we would rather they not be.

    And I presume you hold to the view that the President is different from the rest of the job holders of the land. He is not entitled to a private life. I would ask again, how far past the front door of the residence are you prepared to allow the paparazzi to go? To the bedroom?

    I rather think the President is entitled to all the dignity we can muster up, because it reflects on the dignity of all Filipinos if he is mocked. And the Philippines has not had its share of dignity in the past. I argue for an intentional effort (effort means it is hard sometimes) to be dignified about the Presidency.

    1. What duh?!?

      Hey, Mr. Joe!

      Why is it ok when people mock Gloria Arroyo and her perceived allies to the point of persecuting them but it’s not ok to criticise PNoy?

      You are such a hypocrite.

    2. Excuse me! Did you even read the article? The President of the Philippines is not a king protected by lese majeste! He was elected by a bunch of morons, and being the representative of those morons, we have every right to criticize him. How could you say that he’s the living symbol of the country if a MINORITY put him into power in the first place anyway? And stop that crap about “dignity” and “respect” to protect the yellow one against criticism. Typical Filipino hypersensitivity! Bah!

    3. Actually the non-dignity of the Filipino was exhibited when Noynoy was elected President. There was no dignity in electing to the highest office in the land the most unqualified, the least inspiring, the most inexperienced, and the least motivated among the candidates at the time.

      1. Well, that is your definition of non-dignified and is largely irrelevant to the fact that electorate found dignity in the image of goodness projected by his mother. That definition of dignity is what counts, for it got him elected. And history will record whether his mediocrity was right for the time and circumstances, or not. GRP, fortunately, is just a voice, not the judge.

        1. As a “voice” or as a “judge”, what difference does it make? Does it even matter what label it is you slap on this site? It is what it is and we do what we do and our holy message reaches whomever it reaches. If my opinion is “irrelevant” to whatever “fact” of the matter that may happen to have come to pass then so be it. That doesn’t mean it will stop yet another such opinion from following either the next minute, tomorrow, or next week. Deal with it. It seems it is your preoccupation with what we are, who we are, what we stand for, what our agenda is, or what motivates us that makes most of the comments you post here (the one above being the most recent of the better specimens) among those that are truly irrelevant or of no consequence and therefore of no value added to most discussions here.

          Tough luck. Because you are a mere observer here as we continue to publish our brilliant insights one after the other outpacing even the best of your efforts to come up with equally groundbreaking new angles to the dull and unoriginal chatter of the broader community of pundits that you seem to take comfort in schmoozing with.

        2. @Joe

          “…dignity in the image of goodness projected by his mother.

          And at your age you also got duped into believing that the dignified image of his mother was good enough to vote his son to the presidency. OMG!!!

          What more evidence do you need this country is going to the dogs with PNoy around?

          You’re just a troll Joe America. But unfortunately, losers like GabbyD, Cocoy and Manuel Buencamino hang on to the likes of you because you still go around justifying your support for PNoy.

        3. @Benign0

          I noticed that Joe is just using GRP to get traffic for his site. He comes here spreading his links to his “it’s all about me” blogs so he can recruit more readers. What a loser!

          He whines about not getting respect but he keeps writing negative stuff about GRP anyway. Hypocrite!

        4. Joe, try to understand. Really. We want President Aquino to shape up. We’re not nitpickers just for the sake of it. We do it because his bottom line, we the citizens, take the blunt of the consequences of his and our own people’s mediocrity. We want it to stop.

          To be fair, it’s not entirely his fault. Filipinos have shown, time and again, that they can’t differentiate between ningning (glare) and liwanag (light). The image of dignity of that family is an example of the ningning which they followed into a bottomless PIT.

        5. benigno, well, I sort of have the idea that when a President warrants criticism, he ought to be criticized. And when a blog site pretends one thing but delivers another, it ought to be criticized. And when it delivers thought-provoking articles, it warrants commendation. And when commenters are allowed to make idiocy and insult the central theme, under the phony guise of being vibrant discussion, it warrants criticism.

        1. Joe has nothing but time on his hands to troll!!! Yes, he is a troll!!! I am so embarassed by him that I now tell folks I am Canadian

    4. Joe, simply put, criticizing government officials for an unsatisfactory job they’re doing which in any way, shape, or form, affects me, a citizen they had upheld to serve, is irrespective of the position they hold. It comes with ANY position, much more the highest in the land.

      The Philippines needs to grow up, like you said. It needs to take risks and learn from them. Experience is the best teacher. Nothing teaches as well as the cuts and bruises we gain from trying and experimenting with the unfamiliar. Yet, as the election of another Aquino showed, Filipinos couldn’t care less. They’re insane, because they do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.

      And since when has criticism EVER been equal to instability? If you even make that case, then it reinforces an argument that the person receiving criticism has a TRAGIC character flaw.

      Call this what you want, but putting up with a nitwit, like you said above, despite having a choice and experience, is MASOCHISM.

      If your definition of maintaining dignity means being a sycophant, I’m NOT on that boat with you. To me it’s robbing someone of dignity, and being dishonest to that person, to hold someone up to high regard who has shown he/she does not deserve it.

      By the way, criticism is NOT EQUAL to mockery. If you can’t make the distinction between the two, why are we even talking?

      1. You know, again I suspect that if we had enough conversations, we’d work our way into agreement. I agree Filipinos are insane for repeatedly electing ineffective, corrupt and mediocre people to do the government’s important work. The legal profession here is obviously not a proving ground for competence. I have no idea where the “executive types” are (Reagan, Romney).

        I also agree that criticism is very important when earned. The thing that worries me is how one criticizes without returning to the coup frame of mind, or without degrading the Philippines by making the President relentlessly look the fool (I don’t accept that he is a full-time fool, as most of the people here do). On that, we probably can’t agree. I like that the peso is strong, investment ratings are up and the stock market is roaring. I think it is better for the President to hold high trust ratings among the “ignorant” than not.

        I think your photos do a pretty good job of mockery, all together. But they are amusing, too. Especially the candles.

      2. One thing’s for sure, Joe, you (and a whole bunch of others) are doing a heroic effort trying to prove he is not a bozo. So why worry? Then again, the fact that you are here still worrying about Noynoy’s image kinda gives me some idea of how effective this propping up campaign of yours (and those others) really is. You make the mistake of trying to encourage others to support the president by appealing to their sense of nationalism. Well the Philippines has no such thing. And if there is any pretending that is going on here, it is on the part of the people who continue to pretend that the Philippines actually stands for something without doing the hard work of coming up with something to stand for.

        1. “. . . nationalism. Well the Philippines has no such thing.”

          I think there is a rather warped nationalism, the associative pride thing. I’m looking more for a sense of patriotism, a willingness to give of oneself for the good of the community. I agree there is little here, because of upside down values that hold good values like aspiration and courtesy and giving of oneself to be weaknesses.

          The question is, is this kind of patriotism a good thing or not? If it is, and it is not here, should we just shrug? Or criticize? And goad, urge, and make attempts to enlighten. I have nothing better to do, so I goad. . .

          Finally, I place Mr. Aquino at about 6.5 on the Joe-o-meter evaluating overall capability in his job, on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 high. It is down from the 7.5 he scored a year ago.

  2. The Philippines needs a totalitarian leader who can change the status quo. Not an authoritarian leader like Marcos, but totalitarians like Stalin and Hitler. At least those two are never corrupt(perhaps because of ideological reasons), and those two have acted on the problems of their countries during their times, and by such, their nations prospered… only that freedom was non-existent. Also, the right leaders, for the most part, can come through terror and not through peace…

    1. Why Stalin and Hitler? Stalin corrupted Communism in Russia and Hitler practised himself a very corrupted ideology combining Social darwinism with corrupted science called Eugenics. If I were our country’s leader who follows such concepts and beliefs, I would have banned everyone here who are always expressing their strong discontent for the government- no regrets k? I would have to exterminate my cousin who is autistic and my father who has diabetes because they’re deemed unproductive and I need strong, fit and able individuals to run and represent our ideal society. God forbid someone running for politics if he/she ever embodies their naive and twisted mindsets (!).

      If you wish so, you can seek asylum now in North Korea or Iran- countries which come close to this form of totalitarianism. Have met an Iranian refugee and listening to him talking about his experiences were just unbelievable- how can one live with so much personal and societal oppression?

      For me, an ideal leader would be someone like Benjamin Desraeli former British PM who believed that all citizens have to take responsibility for each other and that an effective state should regulate the market to avoid it being exploited and manipulated.

    1. And Plato was perhaps right. The majority can never really lead themselves properly… and this is the result…

  3. Watch the dictator wannabe BS Aquino as he continues his straight and wide path to perdition. Never before in Philippine history has a plague like him existed. He continues to do evil acts and examples. His cronies act with impunity. The Judiciary is being destroyed slowly. Eroded by people like Ms. Leila De Lima. Setting all the bad examples against the Judiciary. Her master in Malascanang has shown her the way. Crime is on the rise. Blackouts are coming again to Luzon and Visayas should the sleeping president continue his laid back style. Mindanao is now suffering rotating blackouts. The Red Chinese want to grab our crude oil and natural gas. The rainy season is coming. Mr. BS Aquino seems to be vanishing again and again. We are suffering higher prices of basic commodities, higher tuition fees, higher fuel prices and yet nothing is done by the yellow plague of Malascanang.

    1. @Der Fuhrer

      So, the very popular closet queen of Philippine blogoshere is back.

      How can we take your comments seriously, when you aren’t even honest with your sexuality?

      1. @Nutzi Concerned Citizen

        Your ad hominem is duly noted. I said this before. I will say it again. I am confident of my true male sexuality. You on the other hand are acting like a flaming mariposa in heat.

  4. There was a time in France, when King Louie XVI, proclaimed: “I am the State”…the French Jacobinist Revolutionary, did not agree with him. So, they cut his head with the French Guillotine, called : the National Razor. Kings, Queens, Nobles…although they still exist. I don’t agree with them. We are all born naked, and we will leave this world naked…Look at the face of Noynoy Aquino…it’s a Down Syndrome face…we have a President, who is not only mentally ill, but has also a Down Syndrome…Ah…Pobre Pilipinas…

    1. Actually the king who stated the ‘I am the State’ sayign was the great- grandfather of the king who got his head cut from his head. Funny, I read this phrase ‘We are all born naked’ from the autobiographical novel of the wife or queen to the king who got his head chopped off. Oh, she also lost her head.

      Wonder if there will be a Philippine version of the French Revolution.

  5. @Fallen Angel,

    Again a nice read.

    “Long Live Fallen Angel!” hahahaha.

    Anyway just to add, I dont know how you can equate:

    Daulat Tuanku to Mabuhay ang Pangulo/Presidente ng Pilipinas! (Long live the President of the Philippines)!

    Reason 1: There is an unwritten convention (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutional_convention_%28political_custom%29) that the Monarch does not get involve in politics. His role is to give his “Royal Assent” to all legislations passed by both Houses of Parliament. Your President is an elected political individual and is actively involved in the political process and as well as governing the country. His role is liken to that of our Prime Minister.

    Reason 2: When we say “Daulat Tuanku”, it is not actually directed towards the individual itself but rather towards what his position represent. He represent part the Constitution and the country. As such the Monanch cannot be seen to do “wrong”(hence refer back to Reason 1). You cannot be whiter than white when you get involved in politics.

    1. Clueless! I was actually waiting for what you had to say about this. Terima kasi banyak!

      Admittedly, when I talked about “Daulat Tuanku” and “Mabuhay ang Pangulo/Presidente ng Pilipinas!”, I now think equivalence was an inappropriate word. Maybe parallel fit much better. In any case, I thought them to have some sort of equivalence (not total nor absolute) because they are both ways to proclaim reverence for your leaders, nothing more, nothing less.

      As you mentioned, when you do take into account involvement in the political process then the President is now similar to the Prime Minister, not the Monarch. But in terms of simply and only being a beacon or icon for the people, that is where a monarch and a president are parallel.

      The idea behind “Mabuhay ang Pangulo/Presidente ng Pilipinas!” is also ideally directed at the position and what the person in there represents. Trouble is that with Filipinos, they are unable to separate the person from the function. Therefore they get too personally attached to it, and they tend to focus on his personal characteristics instead of how well he performs at the task he’s been given. Any criticism of his performance is perceived as an attack on his person, hence what I called the sinister mutation of lese-majeste in the Philippines.

      I’ve read somewhere that there are Malay royals who want the lese-majeste law reinstated in Malaysia. It was rescinded during the time of Dr. Mahathir. Is this correct?

      1. Fallen Angel, “Sama-Sama” 😀

        Actually I got the gist of your article and what you were trying to put across to the readers. I just pointed out the “holes” in your arguement incase any one wants to be petty and trivial.

        “I’ve read somewhere that there are Malay royals who want the lese-majeste law reinstated in Malaysia.” -> I dont know as currently most malaysians are preoccupied with the coming General election. Everyone is curious to see if the balance of power will tip over to the opposition now. The Malasyian political landscape have started to mature on its own during the last 2 decades. It used to be that more than 2/3 majority is a forgone conclusion for the ruling party but after the 2008 elections, the ratio is almost balanced at around 51%+(Govt)to 48%+(Opposition).so this election might be a game changer.

        “It was rescinded during the time of Dr. Mahathir. Is this correct?” —> Yes correct in a way. The changes was prompted by a series of incidents. You can read more about them at:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1988_Malaysian_constitutional_crisis

        Still…even with all the changes, it doesn’t mean full blown criticisms of the Monarch is allowed. As the saying goes,

        “You don’t cut the nose off to spite the face”.

    1. @Der Fuhrer,

      I just read the link you provided and what drew my attention was this:

      “The basic principle of ZOPFFC is that there is a need to segregate the disputed area from the non-disputes area. “What is ours is ours, and what is disputed can be shared,” he said.

      Asean was cool to the proposal which was understandable because of China’s strong influence on member countries through trade and investments.

      The Philippines tried again to include in ZOPFFC in the Asean summit in Pnom Penh early this month but host Cambodia refused to include it in the discussion.

      Other Asean countries also snubbed Philippine offer to host a meeting on the discussion of the Code of Conduct in the South China between Asean and China.

      After having exhausted the Asean process, it’s now time to bring the issue to the UN”

      I think the author failed to analyze why ASEAN behaved cooly for now.

      http://www.timawa.net/forum/index.php?topic=566.110;wap2

      “…What most observers don’t realize is that in the last few years, regional cooperative efforts to coax Beijing into a more measured stance have been set back by one of the rival claimants to the islands.

      Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s hurried trip to China in late 2004 produced a major surprise. Among the raft of agreements ceremoniously signed by the two countries was one providing for their national oil companies to conduct a joint seismic study in the contentious South China Sea, a prospect that caused consternation in parts of Southeast Asia. Within six months, however, Vietnam, the harshest critic, dropped its objections and joined the venture, which went ahead on a tripartite basis and shrouded in secrecy.”

      “…But as details of the undertaking emerge, it is beginning to look like anything but the way to go. For a start, the Philippine government has broken ranks with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which was dealing with China as a bloc on the South China Sea issue. The Philippines also has made breathtaking concessions in agreeing to the area for study, including parts of its own continental shelf not even claimed by China and Vietnam. Through its actions, Manila has given a certain legitimacy to China’s legally spurious “historic claim” to most of the South China Sea.”

      In light of what had happened, it is undertandable why ASEAN as a whole is cool and cautious. It’s just a repetition of what had happened with Subic Bay and the Americans. so will pushing forward with the UN gives the desired results?

      Associate Professor Ralf Emmers gives a very good overview about the complexities of involving UNCLOS.

      http://asiaquarterly.com/2010/12/24/the-prospects-for-conflict-management-and-resolution-in-the-south-china-sea/

  6. You know, I’m beginning to have the impression that people who voted for Da Prez didn’t want a real leader at all. They just wanted someone who could keep out of their hair and allow them to live their shut-in lives. That’s why most of these voters are the middle and upper classes. They’re the types who wanted to be disturbed by government or any other responsibilities. They just want to live their extravagant lives sipping Starbucks or shopping for Pradas and Nine West products while chewing on Magnum. They wouldn’t care about the poor in the squatter areas or the far-off farms in the provinces. They’d build grills all over their windows, and then get trapped when a fire happens. And yet they want society to fix itself without their participation.

    In the end, they shot themselves in the foot.

    1. PNoy was the feel-good decision for the voters. Remember how he was packaged? Once a candidate is seen as the Lesser Evil/ beacon of light, the candidate is almost a shoo-in. In the case of PNoy, he had a “saint” backing him up. Pinoys love miracles.

      I guess the only miracle happening today is this: Pinoys haven’t risen up against the da Prez.

    1. Interesting to note that the current Yang di-Pertuan Agong is the same one 40+ before. I understand he has been the only one ever appointed twice. Apparently, the current Prime Minister, Najib Razak, is the son of the Prime Minister at that time, Abdul Razak.

      Astounding difference in figures between the 40+ years. It looks like things are optimistic for Malaysia in the years to come.

      1. Yes. The Present Agong had his turn as king 40 yrs back. Actually most of the sultans are ok except the Johor and Kelantan Sultans.

        “…It looks like things are optimistic for Malaysia in the years to come.”

        Indeed a lot had changes during last 4 decades. I just hope we (malaysians) dont get too confident and become complacent in the end and follow a path of regression after this.

        Incidently, 40 yrs ago (4 yrs old then) I looked at the Philippines in awe because of its Airforce (kids…anything that flies faster than sound is the “mightest”!). I said to myself then “How I wish Malaysia was as strong and rich like the Philippines.” Frankly, its actually sad to see the Philippines the way it is now.But if you guys (GRP) carry on the way you are now, maybe there will be a turnaround soon, if not this generation, the next…your kids’ time…as long as you all educate them to work towards that goal.

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