Indeed, the Chinese know how thing “work” in the Philippines. They have, after all, been prominent figures in Philippine industry since the Middle Ages. They know enough to fly above the radars of the natives and deal directly with the powers-that-be. That strategy of knowing and dealing with the right people continues to this day.
Public opinion does not sway Chinese business. After all, public opinion ultimately does not matter. What matters is what the powerful decide. The Chinese have built entire fortunes just on that simple principle. Indeed, opinion is the only thing the Filipino masses actually contribute to the way things are run in the Philippines. Unfortunately that opinion matters only to elected officials. Powerful people who do not owe their power to public opinion need not be swayed by it. In fact, such people actually have the power to influence, even control, public opinion.
Think of the two most influential industries in the Philippines — the media and retail. Filipinos worship the channels and edifices of these industries. Because these industries are in the business of producing, selling, and delivering experiences, they enjoy a direct conduit into Filipinos’ heads. It is not even worth mentioning that Big Corporate Media through schlock hit products like Eat Bulaga and the phenomenal Aldub franchise are virtual deities in Philippine society. If media are the gods, big mall operators like the SM Group provide heaven to Filipinos in the airconditioned cities they are building all over the country. Indeed, these “heavens” now host the Catholic masses that have since been bumped down to a distant Third Place in the hierarchy of Filipinos’ favourite pastimes.
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Does China and the Greater China composed of its disaspora all over the world need to concern itself with public opinion?
That’s, quite simply, a no-brainer.
They just go straight to the top and bypass everyone from the bottom-feeders up to the merely-affluent middlemen.
The trouble with Filipinos is that they suffer minds conditioned by several decades of emo democracy porn. Their sacred notion of “people power” belies their dismal understanding of where real power comes from. Real power does not come from the people. It comes from capital. China is proof that democracy is not needed to be successful capitalists and that Western liberal societies no longer have a monopoly over imperialist capital expansion. Indeed, China is applying a strategy that a gentrified-beyond-all-recognition Europe had long forgotten — that truly awesome economic expansion can be achieved by seizing and holding a captured market of consumers.
It’s really nothing personal. It’s just business.
The pathetic “activism” of Filipinos will not save them. What will save them is a resolve to compete — even if that means competing on an uneven field. Indeed, for that matter, there is no such thing as a “level playing field”. That notion is a construct of people held back by a debilitating brain disease called victim mentality. Life’s not fair and to feel entitled to “fair” treatment is an absolute set-up for failure. Ultimately it is up to Filipinos to decide how they want to play in the uneven playing field that is life. Keep relying on their “activists” to whine about “unfairness”. Or get out there and compete.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.