How Apo Jim Paredes contradicts himself today

The following are words Jim Paredes wrote in his 2007 blog What child is this? where he lamented the child archetype that rules the Filipino psyche…

The child in us [Filipinos] lives in a mythic, magical world where we expect a handsome prince to save us at the last minute, or that things will get better with the wave of a magic wand, without any need for us to change.

This Peter Pan in us may account for our refusal to “look at things in an adult manner”. Jumping off this, I go further to assert that it accounts for our imprisonment in 1980’s thinking even as we face the vastly different circumstances surrounding our society as we move into the second decade of the 21st Century.

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In a past blog article What freedom demands of us, I described what I believe is the real challenge for us in the following five to ten years:

We are indeed long overdue for the emergence of a new set of guiding principles to help us along the next twenty years. For now we are still stuck onto applying the yellow adolescent “laban” romanticism of the 1980’s to the more grown-up imperatives facing our society in the 2010’s. Despite the basic institutions and processes now being in place (flawed as they may be), the imperative to build upon these seems to have not captured the spirit of the society. We are pretty much still looking for a fight where there is none.

Unfortunately we will observe today that the most popular contender for that much coveted job of ruling the Filipino in the six years subsequent to 2010 ran on a pedigree “platform”. A pedigree that derives its value from the “glory days” of the 1980’s — “glory” that obscures its more ingrained feudal land-owning clan roots.

But I digress from the point I really want to make here. The point here lies in the ironic role Jim Paredes plays in today’s politics. In a September 2009 concert with the Apo Hiking Society organised, it seemed, to marshal support for the “Yellow Army” a Noted Blogger once giggled about on television, guest of honour and then presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino Jr himself capped that night by coming on stage to assure the audience that “his Mom and Dad were looking down from the heavens and would be proud of the support generated by this campaign”.

But that was just Aquino being consistent with his pedigree campaign “platform”. At least someone was being consistent then. What is disappointing is Jim Paredes’s inconsistency in light of what he wrote in 2007. In fact he cited several points in that blog that run counter to the position he is taking today:

(1) Filipinos’ lack of a forward outlook:

We have an even shorter attention span. We do not hear of our government looking 20 years ahead. Even when other nations plan for the next 50 to 100 years, we don’t seem to go beyond the ”˜5-year plan’. We like things ad hoc. Bahala na si Batman.

Excuse me, Jim, but Noynoy Aquino ran on an appeal to the retrospective rather than the prospective.

(2) Filipinos’ susceptibility to vacuous entertainment

Our politicians know only too well how child-like we are. They therefore give us entertainment in place of governance. And as if to exploit the ”˜orphan’ in us, they like to project themselves as ”˜Ama ng bayan’ (Erap and Marcos), Ina ng bayan (Imelda) and other parent figures.

That explains that 2009 concert, doesn’t it, Jim? Aquino’s calling to the heavens for his parents’ approval is a nice touch too. You can now add Ninoy and Cory to your list above.

Just one more question, Jim:

Is this how you plan to marshall the immense power of your celebrity for the greater good of the Filipino people?

And last but not least…

(3) Filipinos’ fixation to past “magical” moments

Writers have described life in the Philippines as ”˜magic realism’, the same way Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ sees life in Latin America. The child in us lives in a mythic, magical world where we expect a handsome prince to save us at the last minute, or that things will get better with the wave of a magic wand, without any need for us to change.

Indeed, there is nothing more magical than a re-visit of the euphoria and the clear sense of purpose of the 1980’s, isn’t it, Jim? Right. So clear, in fact, that you tore up your Green Card in an act driven more by your gut than by your better judgment.

I should know, Jim, because I am a fan of your music (and even of what you had begun to write on your blog back in 2007). But please don’t mistake my admiration of your work for a blanket beholdenness for what you stand for as a public figure. Because for me, you stand for things that are inconsistent with what you say.

I remain with you Jim, but not the Jim Paredes of today. I am with the Jim Paredes who wrote these words in 2007:

Things will not change, not until the party wears out and a more responsible archetype takes over who will want to clean up the mess we’ve made.


This is a demonstration, folks, of the power of a proper platform. Jim Paredes wrote the blog I cite above in 2007. It describes his position on certain matters, and it now comes in handy in evaluating his behaviour and the position he takes in his politics today.

Wouldn’t you want to have the same sort of dialogue with your politician midway through his/her term?

All roads lead lead back to this simple challenge:

Platform, plez

Without one, we merely succumb to the archetypical childish character that Filipinos have become renowned for.

17 Replies to “How Apo Jim Paredes contradicts himself today”

  1. I have lost my respect for Jim Paredes when he chose to migrate to Australia. Tulad na siya sa isang malansang isda. “Hey Jim! You have no more right to comment. You’re no longer a tax-paying and card-carrying Filipino. “

  2. I agree with your assessment of Jim Paredes … but had to wonder where the vitriol was coming from. This post, I don’t know if you realize, is filled with seething anger.

    There must be a past between the two of you, I figured, for this post to be so anti-Jim. So I did some internet digging and found your previous messages to one another and your other articles and your responses on his blog as well.

    It’s interesting … no matter how objective we try to be, we cannot escape our history. We may think we are unbiased, but no one ever truly is.

  3. Meh. I’m a big Juan de la Cruz and other Filipino rock bands fan, and VST & Co. at least made no pretense to serious intellectuallism (except for that pot-head Tito Sotto the slapstick senator).

    Jim Paredes can just stick to making songs. Any commentary from him is just an afterthought.

  4. FWIW, the perception of a magical world is prominent in many countries, including rich ones. It’s just that it takes place in different forms: commercial mass entertainment, the idea that more debt is good, the argument that corporations, government, or market forces will solve global problems, etc.

  5. Really now, Jim!

    How can you be saying those things, when in fact, one of your daughters is the girlfriend of a staunch GMA supporter.:)

    I used to be a fan.. there’s the operative phrase..USED TO.

  6. How small-minded. Anyway, regarding your “What is it about the Filipino character that dooms us to chronic failure at worst or consistent mediocre performance at best? Hang around and find out.”

    CHRONIC U MEAN? compared to which countries? The US, china, spain, etc. have centuries of being countries behind them.

  7. The relevance of this article on the thinking of Mr Jim Paredes which is motived by his desire to be of use again to his present icon, Pnoy, is his proven inconsistencies on what went wrong after EDSA ONE. It is the portrait of a man who can not accept the fact that he is already a spent force~irrelevant, if once upon a time he was considered among the pillars of the Yellow Horde of Pnoy’s Mom and Dad then in the 1980s. Now, he acts like a tarmagant woman.

  8. Jim, I have respect for U.
    Pls dont destroy ur legacy as apo.
    Magartista ka nlang, tshirt owner tulad nina jimmy and buboy.
    Edsa is done.
    Nakakpagod na. Magmove on na tayo.
    Meantime, enjoy dping songs about the koalas.

    Mate Rome 🙂

  9. I wrote somewhere here about us checking our “reality maps” in order NOT to get irrelevant or redundant in the current times. Romanticism or keeping on harking over the past would not lead us forward, let us review history in order for us to know where we were so that we will know where we are going and whether we are on the right path, otherwise we will get stuck/mired there in the past glories and do nothing in the present, and then get stifled what to do tomorrow. Life is dynamic, developments in the world move by leaps & bounds and dapat makisabay na rin tayo. Other countries have reached their Golden Age, a full blooming, and we have yet to reach that. Many of us are like Peter Pan (in psyche), that’s why we think that by just remaining as we are we can solve our society’s problems, worse, we become the very nemesis of others who would like our country to move on, probably afraid to change the status quo we’ve grown accustomed to and liked?….Ok, so the challenge lies within each of us…..we change and adjust our mindsets, along with attitude and behavior and become pro-active in development….. let each of us examine our “reality map” then ……

  10. From 2006:

    “Like many among the disillusioned middle class who once yearned and fought for democracy, Paredes now believes that Filipinos need a strong leader. ‘The democracy that we experienced cannot deliver,’ he says. ‘I don’t think the people care very much what the form is. You could put a strong leader there, who bends rules a little bit. I think you could take that as long as the outcome is good.””

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