Olivier Ochanine Defines Advocacy

“Diplomacy is the art of letting someone else have your way.”

– Sir David Frost

A Pinoy Hang-up: Credentialism

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It was only quite recently that I was told that Chefs do not refer to themselves as Chefs.  When introducing themselves, they don’t say “Hi, I’m Chef S0-and-so.”  It’s a no-no among those in the know.

The title “Chef” is conferred upon them by other Chefs, it is bestowed upon them by their peers in recognition of their expertise.

So, if someone insists on calling themselves a Chef, it may be an indication that they have a need to compel others to grant them that recognition and that the title is undeserved.

On the others side of this, one of the biggest praises a chef can receive is to be called “Chef” by someone more accomplished than you are.

Now, consider the title “Cultural Activist” and just figure out what kind of arrogant, lazy asshole you’d really have to be to proclaim yourself as such.

Olivier Ochanine’s simple, accessible definition of advocacy

olivier ochanine defines advocacyIn a publicly posted status update on Facebook, Oliver Ochanine posted:

FALSE: advocacy = complaining and swearing at perceived opponents

TRUE: advocacy = well thought out discussions and creating awareness in a civilized manner

And this serves as a good indication of the right as well as effective way in pursuing an advocacy.

In my book, complaining isn’t necessarily wrong.  It’s how you complain that really marks the difference between a spoiled adolescent’s loud protests and a grown up calmly going through a ‘grievance’ or ‘conflict resolution’ process.

Clearly, Olivier was referring to the former kind of complaining made even worse by the use of profanity directed against the very people who could actually do something to help.

Olivier’s inclusion of “perceived opponents” in the phrase “False: advocacy” indicates that he approached the matter not as a confrontation but as an opportunity for negotiation — which is the really diplomatic approach, something that marks real Ambassadors and advocates.

Olivier articulates his idea on negotiation further in another Facebook Status update:

Sometimes, just sometimes, peaceful negotiations pay off.

It is not the end of the story yet, but this story is definitely getting better. Looking forward to seeing how it plays out.

We will not win everything, because winning it all means the other party loses it all. But coming to a decent middle ground that makes sense to both parties is not a bad end either.

Looking forward to more performances at Philam Life Theater.

Further on, he says:

Henry Sy Jr. listened carefully to our proposition and views concerning Philam Life Theater.

While I cannot say that all of the building at the current site will be preserved, I can say that he has agreed to preserve the concert hall, as he now understands the importance of this hall, both acoustically and historically.

There is a chance the hall may be moved slightly on the same property to accommodate safe building of condo towers, but these same towers will enable an immediate audience for future concerts in the hall. SMDC also understands the need for much more parking, as the current parking situation, as we all know, is lamentable.

More info to come when SMDC agrees to to it. A concert in honor of the hall is being planned; more info on that to come as well.

Another important point to keep in mind: if the hall is moved slightly, it will still be preserved the way it is, as buildings can be moved and have been done many times (even a much bigger concert hall in Shanghai was moved).

So far, a sort of win-win situation for both parties. More negotiations in progress. I can say that SMDC is comprised of people who do listen. Businessmen, but not unwilling to work to meet everyone’s needs.

As BenignO would have said, “The solution is quite obvious…”  and in the case of the Philamlife Building and Theater, the solution was “negotiation”.

Instead of saying “Fuck You Sy Family”, Olivier presented his position on the theater in terms that the Sys would appreciate and therefore agree to.  Perhaps, instead of just focusing on what he wanted, maybe Olivier demonstrated to the Sys how keeping the Philamlife Theater would enhance the value of the property they acquired.

Who knows, maybe all that’s needed to save the Philamlife Building is for foul loud mouthed pseudo advocates to just shut up and let the real advocates speak up.

55 Replies to “Olivier Ochanine Defines Advocacy”

  1. Chinese people prefer the art of negotiation and diplomacy. Unlike the American style which is confrontational and direct. Well, each style has its own pros and cons just like in any life’s endeavors.

    1. I’ve worked with Americans who don’t subscribe to “laying all the cards on the table at the start” approach. And don’t mind a little bit of R&R before “talking turkey” as it were. The international nature of multinational corporations have taught Americans and Europeans to deal with all kinds of peoples on the same level. Some even better than local businessmen.

      1. You are clearly not a businessman, and obviously out of the loop.
        Corporate culture has changed dramatically in the past 10 years as mnc’s have gone global, and even in sme’s, who increasingly have international suppliers and/or customers, there have been profound changes.
        The value chain extends across borders in all industry sectors but sadly some people still think in an antiquated and insular way. Their days are numbered, and such attitudes explain why as executives we invest/recruit elsewhere. We have no time for dinosaurs or passengers.
        Business psychology, TQM, international standards such as ISO, six sigma, etc all play their part.
        Suggest you listen and learn.

    2. As someone who worked with Americans and Canadians, I agree that they’re direct anc confrontational. Filipinos, who are more social, perceived these actions as aggressive.

      I’ve learned that by awareness of their culture and being ready and knowledgeable with the task entrusted to you, you’ll gain their trust.

      I’m not aware that Chinese prefer diplomacy.

  2. Mr. Farol, thanks for the blog article. I want to just clarify something if you wouldn’t mind. In my Facebook posts, I was not specifically referring to Carlos, but to all people who have a tendency to attack SM immediately when they acquire land.

    I already told SM that I am not siding with them, but instead prefer siding with the chance to do something productive, whichever side that chance happens to fall on.

    Just want to clarify this because my posts are not a public attack against Carlos. That said, of course, I still believe that we all need to stay calm until we know the details of what is really happening; even with Baguio having happened, or whatever other SM transaction/development had happened in the past. I am optimistic that this time, SM can be, and is, very open to making this development as much about the Filipino culture as they can, within the construct of what they have in mind for the site.

    1. My apologies if ever there was any way that I made it seem that you made any reference to Mr. Carlos Celdran.

      There was never any attack on Carlos in posts previous to this one and if you will read them, I merely pointed out how the language and manner in which he confronted the Sys would work against saving the Philam Life Building as well as its theater.

      If ever there was any attack it did not come from us.

      1. Goes to show how Celdran’s antics have muddled the issue to the point where he’s got people believing the act in which he plays the victim.

      2. Mr. Ochanine, I am an admirer of your music. I would just like you to be wary of getting involved with this Paul Farol character. He has a history of trying to supplement his non-existent credibility through innuendos trying to attract honorable people such as yourself to his side. He has already done it on this site where his hypocritical articles are written. He actually advocates against certain people with actions much more dirty than the ones he presumes to criticize. He once posted pictures of dead pigs and monkeys against another blogger who he wanted to smear. I hate to see your name and his on the same page. He reeks, both figuratively and literally.

        1. @Nilo D: Note how in your above comment you make no other commentary about the message, concepts, and ideas introduced and discussed by the article and instead fill it with talk about the article author and what are merely your opinions about him and make speculations about stuff that lie outside of the scope of the ideas presented thereof — such as personal intentions, personal circumstances, and perceptions of credibility — that are irrelevant to the central messages and ideas of the piece. That reflects the very style of “debate” that lots of self-proclaimed “activists” presume to criticise. Ironic. Refer to our site’s Terms of Service to guide your next comment please as failure to do so will be dealt with immediately.

        2. Nilo, people whose opinions really matter have already seen through childish ad hominems and it can be traced to just about three or four people — all of whom have engaged in behavior which can already be considered criminal at this point.

          If you wish to challenge the opinions contained in this article, you are most welcome to do so within the guidelines mentioned in the Terms of Service.

  3. No it’s quite ok; I just wanted to make sure readers know that I was not referring to Carlos Celdran specifically.
    Frankly, I think his mind is in the right place; I just have a different approach than he does or than many anti-SM folks have on how to approach the issues.
    Thanks again Mr Farol.

    1. I think it really boils down to the approach one takes.

      There are many whose first reaction is to take up a protest action without first exploring a less confrontational approach.

  4. Perhaps it could be said this way: It’s not the end that justifies the means. It’s the means that justifies the end.

    1. That’s dangerous as well. You can be very polite while screwing somebody over. Nobility of purpose and doing the right thing shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

      1. It’s what i used to call ‘smiling assassin syndrome’ – a bit like greeks bearing gifts, or high yield investment bonds.
        The filipino equivalent is when someone you don’t know calls you ‘my friend’. walk away.

        1. That’s the greeting I get from every politician I’ve ever met. Than they realize they don’t know me and back off.

        2. say ‘ hey my friend.. wheres that 100 pesos you owe me from last time we were drinking red horse’

  5. Another statement from Olivier Ochanine:

    I want to take a moment to thank the THOUSANDS of you who gave your names to the petition signatures of my Change.org petition for Philam Life Theater.

    As a ‘foreigner’, my little mission in support of the Philam Theater would not mean much without being the representation of the multitudes of Filipinos who hold the hall dear to their hearts. The fact is that I hardly feel myself to be an outsider, as I care very much for the Filipino artistic spirit. In times such as these, this spirit needs a strong voice, and that voice belonged to all of you who expressed your unwavering support of Philam Life Theater.

    The journey is only now beginning. And I thank you all for joining it, and feel hugely honored to go on this journey with you as well.

  6. IDK much about the building in question, nor do I know Mr. Ochinine, nor do I like the looks of that guy Celdran…but corporations the world over are running rip-shod all over the planet. Anyone who stands up to them is taking a certain risk with there well-being. that is something not everyone is willing to do and takes BALLS, something most people do not have any more!

    BTW, has the Sy family actually agreed to not tear down the concert hall? in writing?

    1. There is no word about it yet. But I think, if ever people really want to convince them not to, it will have to be through negotiations — which it seems they are open to.

      On the side of people who want to preserve the old building, it would do them well to base their arguments on showing the value of preserving the building.

      If it is an architectural treasure, as they claim, then the Sys will certainly have a great interest in making sure that it doesn’t go to waste.

      For the Sys, I think, it will be a matter of whether there old building will have more value than a new building or whether retaining parts of the building will enhance the value of a new building.

      If people who supported Ochanine want to help out, they should network with other architects as well as real estate brokers and even authorities on preservation around the world.

      Ochanine, being a Frenchman, would be in a good position to tell the Sys about what was done in terms of preservation/conservation in historic sections of Paris.

      1. Yes, the hall will be saved. What I’m working on is getting the main building now to be saved, but let us see. Good idea about comparing with what has been done to preserve in Paris. Will go that route.

  7. WHEN the government becomes corrupted and no longer serves as a steward, to ensure the common good for the people, between business and the people a monopolistic greed occurs that is incurable without drastic measures.
    The family in question does not give a shit about anyone and since the government will not rein business in, in any area, it becomes necessary for people to do whatever is necessary to call attention to what is going on: they may have differing styles but at least they try to do something about what is going on. (This is most often done with very little effect on the suspect business, unless done via gov’t. regulation). The PhilAm concert hall may very well be saved and if it is its saving will in no way curb the rampant abuse of the people by the business giants. However it may be used by the very same business giants to show just how much they care about the people.
    Question is: will they be able to do it with a straight face?

    1. “WHEN the government becomes corrupted and no longer serves as a steward, to ensure the common good for the people, between business and the people a monopolistic greed occurs that is incurable without drastic measures.”

      And such drastic measures, paraphrasing the American Founding Fathers, may or may not involve outright rebellion.

      1. Agreed. The response should be appropriate. And whatever system is put in place to replace the old order that doesn’t work must prove itself to function satisfactorily according to the people who employ and utilize it.

        1. Be less ignorant about how the system works.

          Maybe the problem is that people have wound blinders on too tight and not only limited their sights to one solution but severely impeded the flow of blood to their brain.

      2. @ Aegis-Judex, after 40 yrs. of one corrupt sleaze-bag after another, after the one sleaze-bag was deposed and forced into exile only for the people to realize his cronies NEVER left and that remnants of the sleaze-bag run rip-shod over the people to this very day. After promises of change from each and every sleaze-bag to come along and promise such a change since then, in each and every election and the only results are TYRANNY,oppression and even MORE(if that is possible!) massive poverty in a country that, had it not been raped and pillaged by said sleaze-bags, could rival the richness of countries like their neighbors, Singapore and Japan….what would you suggest be done? wait another 40 years? bow down and worship the TYRANTS ASSES? OR
        WAIT, I know….have another election…that has to be it! it is only FAIR that the tyrranical sleaze-bags get ‘DUE PROCESS’ and all they are rightfully entitled to by the constitution.

        Have you met the Virtual Vigilante? I vote for him.

        1. No, my boy. The correct response to tyranny is exemplified in the motto of Virginia: Sic semper tyrannis. “Thus always to tyrants,” videlicet, rebellion.

      3. That only happens when the systems meant to resolve conflicting interests do not work or if the people who are supposed to know how to use the system DO NOT use it properly or at all — out of ignorance or out of some shallow, blind dogmatism.

        In this case, the “grievance” process seems to be working.

  8. “It was only quite recently that I was told that Chefs do not refer to themselves as Chefs. When introducing themselves, they don’t say “Hi, I’m Chef S0-and-so.” It’s a no-no among those in the know.”

    In the same sense, I believe they should stop calling lawyers “Attorney” before their name, because “Attorney” is a job function, not a title.

  9. “We will not win everything, because winning it all means the other party loses it all. But coming to a decent middle ground that makes sense to both parties is not a bad end either.”

    Stephen Covey calls it the Think Win-Win Habit.

    1. The Art of Negotiation is something we ALL have to study and be good at. Certain movements will do better if they apply this.

      1. That’s the problem with many Filipinos. They’re so used to an “us or them” mentality. They believe middle ground is a joke. They really need to be exposed to stuff like The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Ochanine’s actions made a good demonstration of these.

  10. Sa wakas may nabasa din ako dito na may aksyon. Totoo maraming problema ang bayan natin. At kailangan naman nating kalapagin ang ating mga ahensya (at maging ang private sctor) para magising sila sa mga problemang kanakaharap. Kaso madalas, puro reklamo lang ang naririnig at nababasa natin, as if naman nagbabasa ng blogs at social media yung mga pinatatamaan natin dito. Magandang balita itong nangyari sa Philamlife Theater. May aksyon at solusyon — di lang puro dada.

    1. But please remember: the action taken by SM to save the Theater was not because of populist demands, but because real experts intervened and actually TALKED to SM without resorting to what passes for “activism” in the Philippines these days.

      1. If you were a businessman, who would you listen to a short bald guy with a placard saying “Fuck you”?

        Businessmen shy away from engaging protesters in a dialogue, that’s a no brainer.

      2. On top of shock tactics, costumes and circus acts, what passes off as “activism” nowadays as well is getting a mob of hollowheaded Facebook fans and Twitter followers all riled up doing war chants and making mutual-assurances of the righteousness of one another’s perception and interpretation of the issue. Hotbeds of inbred thinking, in short.

        1. Even worse are video game addicted adolescents in their twenties who play out a perverted, psychotic fantasy online on the rather flimsy pretext of an “advocacy” which they do not even practice.

          Maybe I’m just too Lumang Tao and no longer IN with the times, but back then, when I had a score to settle I usually just duked it out.

        2. You’ve got to appreciate the appeal. Here you have (literally) a planet-wide pool of idle, unthinking drones who are wired for sight and sound, constantly bombarded with stimuli twenty-four-seven. All of them leading purposeless lives of drudgery while convinced that they have something better to do, something more to contribute to the world around them. A visceral “gut feeling” that they have a “higher purpose.” Just like the characters they see on television and the Internet.

          Then you give them some nebulous cause to motivate them and you can pretty much convince them to do just about anything for you. From staging sit-in, occupy-wall-street protests to betraying their country to committing acts of terror. Even murder. They did the same thing during the Crusades and look how that turned out.

        3. It’s even easier today. You can convince the mindless idiot that he doesn’t need to leave the comfort of his bedroom where the greasy chips and soda cans are always within reach. All he needs to do is launch his attack for “the cause” online. Safe. Secure. Anonymous. Not like the old days when “activists” had to bear the brunt of police truncheons and water cannons.

        4. The chinese have ‘ the 50 cent army’. Paid propagandists – usually students trying to earn a few extra yuan by ‘comment bombing’ websites with slogans etc.

          A couple of extracts from articles ex 50 centers have written. (Malacanan clearly try to copy the policy, but as usual do a bad job of it – you just can’t get the staff these days!)

          ” the aim is to anger
          netizens and divert the anger and attention on the subject to me. I
          would then change my identity several times and start to
          condemn myself. This will attract more attention. After many
          people have seen it, they start to attack me directly. Slowly, the
          content of the whole page has also changed from the main topic to what I’ve said. It is very effective.”

          “If you do a lot of bad things, you will lose credibility … and
          eventually no one will believe anything you say,” Li said.
          “Then there will be a backlash; everyone will know who the 50 cent
          army are, and the government’s credibility will be at its lowest
          possible level.”
          Blogger Wen Yunchao, known by his online nickname Beifeng, said
          most netizens adopted a policy of ignoring 50-centers.
          “We pretend we don’t hear or see them,” he said. “We treat them as
          if they weren’t there, and never give any kind of reaction.”
          “This makes them much less effective.”

  11. Actually, credentialism is a global hang-up, especially one that is made part of economic systems, and very prominent in industrialized countries.

    1. True that. I admit I must have singled out Flips. I can’t help it because I’m right in the stew.

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