My version of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven, one of my favorite poems
This is my rendition of Sonnet 116 or Marriage of True Minds
The video clip is from Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet.
I just saw a documentary on the OP – Old Pronunciation; i.e. pronunciation of English words during the time of Shakespeare. The experts mentioned that the ending couplet in Sonnet 116 does not rhyme. Indeed!
“If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”
According to these experts, proved should be read as PROVD (short O) so it would rhyme with LOVD (also pronounced with short O).
Unfortunately, I’ve already recorded my reading of the sonnet. Well, next time, I’d know how to pronounce the words correctly.
Here’s another Shakespeare Sonnet – Sonnet 18 which begins with “Shall I Compare thee to a summer’s day?”
On this summer’s day, sweltering and damp, I thought I’d just read Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Here is my rendition of Sonnet 29, with clip from the film Pride and Prejudice
I told somebody today that I miss teaching. With the unprecedented Media Bias against Ron Paul in the current US Republican primaries, I could show the students the Media Studies theories in action – like Agenda-Setting, Gate-keeping, Propaganda Model, etc. I doubt if there is any Filipino Communication / Media Studies teacher in the country who is doing such a thing.
She asked, isn’t there a Muslim school where you can teach?
Huh? Muslim school? But I don’t have a degree in Islamic Theology. My degree is M.A. Media Studies – the first Filipino to get such degree from UP-Diliman. I have a 1.0 (equivalent to 4.0 in the US) GPA which qualified me for membership to at least 2 international Honor Societies like the Phi Kappa Phi. I also had the College’s Best Master’s thesis. At the same time, I was President of the Graduate Students’ Association. I lectured at UP and Kalayaan College. I have been writing for various publications since 1998 and even won a Journalism Award. I also have a peer-reviewed academic article published.
All these qualifications are good ONLY for a MUSLIM school?!?!
Since my father was a judge, I wanted to be a lawyer when I was a child. My father was the first Muslim lawyer in the Philippines as well as first Muslim fiscal and Judge of the Court of First Instance. He died when I was but 5 and a half years old.
When I went to college, the Philippines was under Martial Law. What would a lawyer do under Martial Law? So, I changed my mind and took up instead Petroleum Engineering at the top engineering school in the Middle East at that time – the University of Petroleum & Minerals (later renamed King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals) at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia.
Being the First and only Filipino petroleum engineer, with on-the-job training at ARAMCO, practicum at the Technische Universitat Clausthal in Germany and study tours in Germany, Mexico and Algeria, I thought that I could do something for the fledgling oil and gas industry of the Philippines. I thus went home to work instead of working abroad even though petroleum engineers were in demand everywhere in the 1980s.
To my shock, oil companies in the country did not want to touch me with a ten-foot pole. I thought it was because my family was opposed to the Marcos regime. But even when President Marcos has already been deposed, I still could not find work as a petroleum engineer.
So, I tried my hand in other fields – from Sales to Real Estate brokering (I took and passed the real estate licensure exams) to capital markets to management consultancy.
Later, I took the top-level Strategic Business Economics Program (SBEP) of University of Asia & the Pacific, one of the top economic research centers of the country.
Since I love writing, I started writing for a newspaper and later, for magazines and other publications. I even won a Journalism Award. But then, it was not easy for me to find a writing job when people learn that I am an engineer. For some reasons, people generalize that engineers cannot be good writers.
To remedy the situation, I enrolled at the University of the Philippines for the degree of M.A. in Communication, Journalism major. After finishing practically all the academic requirements except for the comprehensive exam and thesis, the College of Mass Communication opened its M.A. Media Studies – Film specialization program.
The Dean, at that time, knew that I was very interested in Films. She invited me to be one of the first students of the program. I asked if I could have a double degree because I was nearly finished with my M.A. Comm (Journalism) requirements. Unfortunately, she said that “there was no such animal” (referring to double degrees) in the College. At any rate, she said that all my units were to be credited but I had to take additional ones for Film and Media Studies. And so I did.
And so, I was not only the first Filipino to graduate with an M.A. Media Studies from UP , I was also the first Filipino to graduate with an M.A. Media Studies (Film) from the UP Film Institute. If I am not mistaken, the second Filipino to graduate with that degree from the UP Film Institute did so only in 2010, at the earliest – six years after I graduated.
When the UP Film Institute announced its vacancies for regular teaching posts (I was then teaching there as a Lecturer), I was invited to apply. (At UP, one has to be invited in order to have a chance of being accepted.) Unfortunately, instead of hiring me, they chose two Filipinos WITHOUT M.A. degrees and had NO academic or work experience in Media or Film Studies. They also got a FOREIGNER.
In our very Constitution, I think it is clearly stipulated that NO FOREIGNER should be hired if a FILIPINO is qualified for the job. Yet, whether as a Petroleum Engineer or as a professor of Media Studies and Film Studies, Filipinos prefer to hire a foreigner over me. Perhaps they did not consider me a Filipino? I am a Moro, after all.
It appears that being the first Filipino to earn a degree in a particular field doesn’t mean much in the country. I wonder if it is because I am a Moro (indigenous Muslim in the Philippines). Perhaps I should take a PhD in say, exobiology (study of life BEYOND Earth)? Maybe then, I can find a job in the Philippines? If Filipinos won’t hire me, perhaps I can apply in Mars?
Yesterday, the cool, rainy weather inclined me to read poems. Then, I felt like recording them. I posted the recordings at my other blog: http://jamalashley.blog.com/2011/11/15/reading-poetry-while-musing/
My number one admirer, Jaime J. A. Rivera, Pres./CEO and Board chairman of Juan S. Alano Co., Inc. in Basilan, strikes again. This time, he posted another idiotic comment at my other blog. Since I already mentioned him in my previous post in this blog, I thought of just posting his comment here together with my answer.
Another useless try at propagating LIES according to Hamas’ propaganda guidebook… only good for the gullible or the clueless.
Oh, Hi Mr. Abbas…its me again! Since you blocked me from replying to your email… then I guess this would be as good a spot to renew our acquaintances as any.
By the way, from the livid fury that you have been hurling out (especially at Filipinos – whom you claim to be distinct from your own invented moro ‘nationality’)… it does make me wonder how you were able to sleep soundly knowing that the money you earned as a former employee of the Department of Energy, the money that you used to spend for and feed your family, came mostly from us, Filipinos.
You even applied for a promotion as Undersecretary! In a national line agency of a country which you claim to not be a part of? You’re weird!
Must be the hairdo. Oh well…
HAMAS AND GAZA
Mr. Rivera obviously is an ardent admirer of Israeli Zionists. That is understandable because like the Zionists, he is occupying other people’s lands and his family is living today a decent life because they have exploited other people’s lands, resources and lives.
In the recent Israeli aggression in Gaza, most of the world, including former President Carter and the United Nations Secretary-General, have condemned Israeli actions. See http://jamalashley.blogsome.com/2009/02/08/p238/
Contrary to Mr. Rivera’s belief, I don’t hate Christian Filipinos. A great majority of my friends are Christian Filipinos. The Filipinos I hate are those that oppress, impoverish, and even kill fellow Filipino CITIZENS, Moros and non-Moros alike. I also hate bigoted carpetbaggers. My livid fury is reserved mostly for people like Mr. Rivera who sends offensive emails or comments. I am certain that Mr. Rivera does not represent the Filipino people.
Since Filipino is the term used to mean citizens of the Philippines whatever the religion, I would use the old word Indio (as popularized by Rizal et al’s Los Indios Bravos) to refer to Christianized Philippine natives. Believing that Moros and Indios are distinct nations does not make one anti-Indio. The Moros are distinct from the Malaysians even though the Malay Moros and Malays of Malaysia share many commonalities. And I certainly don’t hate Malaysians.
I like many Filipinos. I study Filipino history and try to understand it through the perspective of the Indio and not the Spanish or American viewpoints. Filipino history is NOT Spaniards-in-the-Philippines history being taught in Philippine schools.
In Mr. Rivera’s emails, he enumerated the victories of the Spaniards against the Moros. Mr. Rivera must realize that the Moro wars during the Spanish era were between the Moros and the Spaniards and NOT between Moros and Indios. The indios were victims caught between the two warring parties. If Mr. Rivera thinks his forebears were Spaniards, then he is simply deluding himself. (Read Dery, Camara, 1997 The Kris in Philippine History)
I admire many Indio heroes like Dr. Jose Rizal, Emilio Aguinaldo, Apolinario Mabini, Artemio Ricarte, Dagohoy of Bohol and the Silangs (Diego and Gabriela). I have read the novels and the other writings (like the Letters) of Rizal including Noli me Tangere, which I read both in English and Spanish.
I am also fascinated by indigenous Indio culture, which has many similarities with Moro culture. Unfortunately, most Indios have lost that culture. They don’t even want to be called Indios and appropriated for themselves a name (Filipino) which, for 350 years, were meant only for the colonizers (Spaniards in the Philippines).
FILIPINO OR MORO NATIONHOOD
Nationhood does not come from out of the blue. Just because America included Moroland to the Philippines when it granted independence does not immediately create a “Filipino nation.”
For 350 years, the Spaniards never considered the Indios as belonging to the same nation as the Moros. None of the European powers did. On the contrary, the Dutch and the British regarded the Moro sultanates as independent of Spain.
For 35 years, the Americans distinguished the Moros from the Indios (who were then called Filipinos).
The very word Filipino was reserved for pure-blood Spaniards living in the Philippines until 1898. These Spanish Filipinos were further categorized into two groups. The Philippine-born Spaniards were called Insulares while the Spain-born Spaniards were called Peninsulares. The non-Muslim natives were called NATURALES or INDIOS. The half-breeds were called mestizos.
The Katipunan of Bonifacio fought for the Tagalogs and the KATAGALUGAN (Tagalog region) and attempted to put up the Katagalugan Republic.
Aguinaldo et al appropriated the term “Filipinos” for themselves. The Americans, who did not know better, thought the term Filipinos meant natives of the archipelago.
As to the Moro Nation, I did not invent that. The M and the N in MNLF stand for Moro National. Bangsa Moro means Moro Nation.
Besides, ‘nations’ are indeed invented or as academic writers prefer, ‘imagined’.
That is why new countries like the Philippines spend so much time, effort and money in ‘nation-building’.
Bendict Anderson (1983) termed nations as ‘imagined communities’. Wilson and Dissanayake (1996) says: “The nation-state, in effect, having been shaped into an ‘imagined community’ of coherent modern identity through warfare, religion, blood, patriotic symbology and language…”
The Philippine nation-state project was able to convince the Ilocanos, Ilonggos, Cebuanos, Bicolanos, etc. that they belong to the “Filipino nation”. But it simply did not and does not work with the Moros who have a long history of being nations themselves – nations forged through “warfare, blood, patriotic symbology and language”.
A country is different from a nation, Mr. Rivera.
If the country oppresses, discriminates and does not give a nation or groups of people basic human rights and basic services and infrastructure, then that country’s government has no right to include that nation or groups of people in its territory.
I am a part of the country called the Philippines because that country’s government insists that I am one of its citizens. But I cannot say that I belong to the Filipino nation because there is no such nation. Even the Filipino language is still an on-going process. It must be noted that the language called Filipino is not the same as Pilipino or Tagalog. The Pilipino that I studied in the elementary and high school is no longer considered “correct” Filipino. The “Balarila” or grammar of Lope K. Santos, the “Father of Pilipino Grammar” has been debunked as wrong Filipino by the new Filipino grammarians.
It used to be that there was only ONE “national” hero (Jose Rizal). When I was in high school, the big debate was: “Who should be the national hero – Rizal or Bonifacio?” Now, by law, almost all heroes are called national heroes, including Sultan Qudarat. However, there seems to be a regression when the University of the Philippines is now called by law, the “national university.”
It is the height of ignorance and arrogance to insist that all citizens of this newly-created (in 1946) nation-state called the Philippines belong to ONE NATION, sharing the same CULTURE, HISTORY and ASPIRATIONS.
MOROS IN GOVERNMENT SERVICE
Mr. Rivera believes that Moros should not work for the government because government money is (mostly) Christian Filipino money. That is the most ridiculous notion that I have come across.
He is not the only one who believes that. In one internet forum, one Indio like Mr. Rivera, wrote that I should be thankful that I was a “university scholar” at UP and it was thanks to the “Filipino people”. I had to tell this guy that I was a University Scholar as a GRAUDATE student. And a university scholar was simply honorary – given to students with a GPA of 1.25 and higher ( I had 1.0 GPA). It did not entail any discounts and graduate students at UP are not subsidized.
I should have added that UP-Diliman, being a state-funded university, should include more Moros and non-Tagalogs. In one class there, I asked my students which ethnic group they belonged to. To my utter surprise, out of nearly 40 students, just two were non-Tagalogs. Incidentally, Mr. Rivera, who claims to be from Basilan, is a Tagalog.
Government money is NOT Christian Filipino money. It is also Moro money. All money (monies /species) issued by the Central Bank are the liability of and guaranteed by ALL its citizens.
Moreover, the Filipino government and people, especially the illegal occupiers of Moroland, have been raking in billions of pesos from the land, water and natural resources of the Moro people(s).
Mr. Rivera and his clan live through the grace and sufferance of the indigenous people of Basilan — the Moros.
In fact, in any final peace agreement with the Moros, it would only be fair and logical for the Philippine government to pay an INDEMNITY to Moros for the loss of Moro lives, properties, resources and opportunities all these years.
And since the government and Christian Filipinos insist that the Moros are Filipinos, then it is only natural and logical that Moros be given EQUAL opportunity for jobs and services in the government and in private firms. Unfortunately, this has never happened.
WORKING FOR A LIVING
It is indeed a miracle that despite the discrimination, the loss of lands, resources and opportunities, Moros still manage to survive in the Philippines. This is because, as the Bible says, “Man does not live by bread alone.” Of course, this concept might be too profound for Mr. Rivera.
I graduated from the best engineering university in Saudi Arabia, if not the Middle East – King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. I have a B.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering – the first Filipino to have such degree. (The university in Palawan which now gives such degrees should not be counted as their curriculum does not merit an Engineering degree.)
I had my practicum from one of the top engineering schools in Germany, the Clausthal Institute of Technology. I also had 7-months training at ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia. I had study tours in Germany, Algeria and Mexico where I visited the various oil and gas fields and facilities there.
At that time, the entry salary for petroleum engineers in ARAMCO for Third World people was US $ 2,000 a month. I could have worked in Europe and the US, too as petroleum engineers were very much in demand then. I heard that in Alaska, petroleum engineers were getting 5 figures a month salary. Engineers in North Sea oil rigs were also highly paid. That was in 1980. And I had been to US and Europe even then.
For Mr. Rivera’s information, I don’t need government money to feed myself or anyone else. I have gone practically around the world before Mr. Rivera was in first grade. I went on my first European tour when I was just 19 years old.
My grandfathers and great-grandfathers traveled abroad even before there was a Philippine Republic.
I also had a TRASFERRABLE IQAMA (work permit) in Saudi Arabia. I could have worked for any company there, like a Saudi citizen. But I did not.
Where I grew up, money is not everything. I did not want to work for a company like ARAMCO which based its salaries on a person’s passport. Because I had a Philippine passport, I was to be paid less than half of what my Arab classmates would get. Americans were paid even higher, if not the same as the Saudis.
I did not know then that in the Philippines, Americans get paid a thousand times higher than their Filipino counterparts.
Perhaps Mr. Rivera could not comprehend or even imagine that there are people who do not need to be servile to others or live off other people’s properties and resources in order to live. He probably could not fathom the idea that there are people who refuse to work, however highly paid, for reasons based on principles.
But I was also idealistic. I truly believed that I could help the fledgling Philippine oil industry. I believed (and still do) in technology and knowledge transfer, and I thought I could share my expertise to my fellow citizens. Helping the country through its oil industry would eventually redound to helping my fellow Moros.
But I was wrong. The oil companies did not want to touch me with a ten-foot pole. Why? Was it because I was a Moro? Or was it because I was an Abbas? My brother at that time was still in Saudi Arabia fighting the Marcos government.
On April 14, 2006, I posted “Knowledge Society – Philippine Energy sector” (http://jamalashley.blogsome.com/2006/04/14/knowledge-society-%e2%80%93-philippine-energy-sector/) which included:
In Dec 1994, I finally worked for the energy sector – at the Department of Energy (DOE), no less. The Secretary’s brother belonged to the same fraternity as my brothers. The Secretary’s Chief of Staff discouraged me from joining the department. When I insisted, he tried giving me low positions, which I promptly turned down. Finally, I settled for the position of Executive Assistant VI or Chief of Staff of the Chair of the Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC). The DOE Secretary is the ex officio PNOC chair.
I then realized why no oil company wanted me. To my utter shock, the people at PNOC and DOE, who were supposed to be the country’s most knowledgeable people in the field of energy, knew practically NOTHING about ENERGY!! Oh sure, they talk about energy, write about energy, speak about energy, but they DO NOT UNDERSTAND the basics of Energy, especially OIL and GAS.
The Energy Secretary asked me if I knew about Natural Gas Pricing because of the negotiations going on about the gas field discovered by Shell and Occidental. I answered in the affirmative.
Meanwhile, the gas negotiations were going on and I realized from what I had read in the newspapers that the DOE and National Power Corp (NPC) officials did not seem to know much about oil and gas. So, I took the initiative and gave the Secretary a report. I explained some basics in gas pricing to aid the government negotiators.
I was then asked to attend a Press Conference given by the Secretary. I was dumbfounded when the Secretary could not answer a reporter’s question and passed it on to the Undersecretary in charge of the negotiations. The undersecretary hemmed and hawed until I blurted out the answer. The official next to me repeated what I said and the undersecretary picked up on it.
I then realized that I had to make a complete report that would explain to the Secretary the very basics of Natural Gas.
The DOE officials, especially the undersecretary who now calls himself the “father of the natural gas industry in the Philippines,” kept on repeating that the DOE would not interfere in the negotiations. They swallowed Shell/Oxy’s argument that since state-owned NPC was one of the buyers of the gas and the government co-owned the gas field, the government could not participate in the negotiations because it was both the buyer and the seller.
In my report, I showed the fallacy of the oil companies’ argument by reviewing the experience of European governments’ oil and gas experience. I also criticized the previous studies done by a Japanese and an American consultant.
The Secretary, a UP professor, must have been quite impressed with my long report. He immediately asked President Ramos to issue an Executive Order creating the Philippine Gas Task Force to be composed of several government agencies. The DOE then changed its stance from being a disinterested observer in the negotiations into being an active and “hands-on” negotiator.
Instead of promoting me, the Secretary seemed to prefer that nobody would know about me. When the Undersecretary still persisted in giving wrong information to the press, I made a Memo to the Secretary, cc the undersecretary about some technical points.
It was then that I met USAID’s consultant at DOE.
The American consultant expressed surprise that somebody else knew something about oil and gas at DOE. He told me that he did all the research, studies, and everything else that DOE claimed to have done regarding natural gas.
To make a long story short, I was made the head of the Secretariat of the Gas Task Force, but on an unofficial basis (no honorarium whatsoever) and later Team Leader (The Philippine Counterpart team was composed of DOE, PNOC and NPC people) that went to Hawaii to create computer models on Gas Pricing, which became the core of the DOE recommendation to President Ramos.
Meanwhile, the Undersecretary became the Gas Office consultant paid for by USAID while the American consultant was sent home packing. This undersecretary later became president of one of the PNOC companies.
When the term of (President) Ramos ended, I had to leave DOE. The new Secretary replaced me with a clerk who had absolutely no technical experience.
An assistant secretary who came almost at the same time with me, who is a lawyer with no engineering or scientific background, became Undersecretary and now is the President of NPC.
Apparently, at the DOE / PNOC / NPC, the less you know about energy, the more likely you will be be hired and promoted to the top.
Knowledgeable people like me are thrown out of the energy sector while people with little or no knowledge in the field are made heads of companies.
The Philippines has a long long way from becoming a knowledge society.
To add to that, I am instrumental in making the Philippine Energy Plan much better than the previous one. However, some officials still insisted on putting figures they got from nowhere in order to give very optimistic scenarios for the future.
Mr. Rivera, when I render service to the government, I try to be of service to the Filipino people as a whole. And believe me, modesty aside, the Philippines need people like me – knowledgeable, intelligent, non-subservient to foreigners and incorruptible.
When I was Manager at PNOC, one of my proposals was to make PNOC the Renewable Energy Company. The visiting USAID representative was, to use his word, “pleasantly surprised” to hear my proposals for renewable energy. Two huge Japanese conglomerates MARUBENI and NISSHO IWAI wanted very much to be part of my projects.
Unfortunately, the PNOC officials felt threatened and conspired to fire me before I became permanent. At first they removed my projects from me. When I complained to the Human Rights Commission, which endorsed my complaint, I was fired. They did it at the end of my 6th month.
The reason for my termination was that I applied to be Undersecretary of Energy. Another reason was that I mentioned that among all the Managers at PNOC, I was the only one using a Computer. The others didn’t because they didn’t know how and they let their staff do the work for them.
Can you imagine Managers of the Philippine National Oil Company not knowing how to use computers in the late 1990s? How incompetent can people get? (Incidentally, I was just going through an old Newsweek Magazine for research purposes. The magazine dated Feb, 27, 1995 had the cover story TECHNOLOGY ’95. The issue was all about computers and the Internet. I was Manager at PNOC in 1998-1999. I even created a website for my department while the PNOC itself did not have one.)
When I complained to the Civil Service Commission and asked for even ONE hearing, the CSC refused and sided with PNOC.
I asked only for DUE PROCESS – Just ONE HEARING at the CSC. Later, I was informed that the CSC did not grant me a hearing because the PNOC officials claimed that then PNOC President Ramon Mitra was dying and it would kill him to attend ONE hearing.
I elevated my case to the Court of Appeals. For about TEN YEARS, the Court of Appeals refused to act. It finally did last year. And even though all my evidence were sworn affidavits and supported by documents while the other party has mere allegations and no sworn statements, the CA justices voted against me. Like in the recent Court of Appeals scandal, it was obvious that the justices did not even read the memoranda of the parties, much less studied the merits of the case.
And since I have no money to hire another lawyer to file for Reconsideration, I just have to grin and bear it. As shown by the CA scandal, it is quite clear that the Court of Appeals like most Philippine institutions, are morally bankrupt.
NOT MY LOSS
Losing work at DOE and PNOC was not just my loss. It is the loss of the Filipino people, too.
In my various government posts, I learned first hand the gross incompetence and unscrupulousness of Filipino officials. I have learned that most of the laws passed by Congress (both houses) are not even understood by the lawmakers. And many of these laws were written by FOREIGNERS or copied almost verbatim from American laws.
I have learned that the so-called consultations done by the agencies tasked to propose specific laws are stage-managed. There is no real consultation with the people.
Unlike people like Mr. Rivera who work only so he can feed himself and his family, I work so I can make whatever institution I am working for better and that improvement would redound to the people at large.
Moreover, I have never joined the MNLF or MILF or any secessionist group. I therefore find nothing wrong in working for the government if the government desires my services.
I don’t deserve to be DOE Undersecretary. I deserve to be Energy Secretary. If I were Secretary of Energy, there would be an Oil Deregulation Law that would be truly for deregulation and not an anti-deregulation law as it now stands.
I would have exposed all the shenanigans at NPC which made people pay so high a price for electricity. I would have managed the PNOC Group of companies so that they would generate more revenues and would become world-class in operation.
I would have made the Philippine a center for showcasing Alternative and Renewable Energy by using international mechanisms that promote the use of such energy.
MY VARIOUS ABILITIES
I am fortunate that I have many abilities. I don’t have to beg or kiss ass for a job as Mr. Rivera probably does. If the oil companies don’t want me, I have other abilities. I have business and writing background. I took the top-level Strategic Business Economic Program (SBEP) at the University of Asia and the Pacific. I also have an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of the Philippines – the FIRST Filipino to have that degree from UP — with a GPA of 1.03.
I was one of the winners of the Manila Rotary Club’s 2001 Journalism Awards. I have written for various newspapers and magazines.
Any company or government agency would be fortunate to have my services. But of course, since I am a Moro, and a Moro who would always speak for the rights of the people – be they Muslim, Christian, Jew or otherwise, not many would want to have me around.
When I was child, my mother repeatedly told me that there would be times when I would find myself NOT an aristocrat of the purse, but I would always be an aristocrat of the intellect and of the blood.
So you see, Mr. Rivera, even without a job from the government, I would forever be your superior — in intellect and in bloodline.
I have a naturally curly hair. I don’t have it permed or curled in beauty salons. I don’t even use a comb. I just brush my hair with my hands. Only weird people like Mr. Rivera would find my hair weird.
Oh well, what can one expect from a provincial?
MINDANAO CONFLICT MEANS NO PROGRESS FOR ALL
Continuing the Mindanao conflict to support the likes of Mr. Rivera means continued non-development of the country. Without peace in Mindanao, there can be no real economic progress for the Philippines.
A very big, if not the biggest share of the budget will always go to the military. There will be not enough foreign and local investments in Mindanao and tourism could not possibly take off. In fact, because of the bad press about Mindanao, many foreign investors and tourists are wary of investing or even visiting the Philippines as a whole. There will always be uncertainty and any event, however trivial, could spark the Mindanao powder keg with unimaginable consequences.
Mr. Rivera thinks that the military could easily wipe out the Moros. That of course, is wishful thinking. I doubt very much if the military top brass share that idea.
NEW PARADIGM IN THE 21ST CENTURY
The physics that Mr. Rivera studied in high school and college (if he still remembers them) is not the same as physics today. Most of us still know only of two elementary forces – the electromagnetic force and gravity. Most of us believe that the tiniest particles in the universe are the subatomic particles electron, neutron and protons. And most of us believe there are only 4 dimensions including Time.
In my article Magic of Science published in Mr. Ms. Magazine (July-Aug 2008), I wrote:
The 20th century was greeted by the theories of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity, the twin pillars of the New Paradigm…
…Moreover, Heisenberg discovered that one could not observe the particle with certainty. There is simply no instrument, even theoretically speaking, that could measure both a particle’s momentum and position. This is the famous Uncertainty Principle. In addition, the very act of observation affects the experiment.
By the first quarter of the 20th century, it was clear that the death of Physics was not at hand. Rather, it was the end of Newtonian physics.
Einstein proved that all measurements are correct only relative to a frame of reference…
…The new physics is a physics of possibilities, of tendencies, of relativity – not of absolutes. The experimenter affects the experiment. Philosophically, this means that the observer and the observed are interactive, inseparable. And not everything can be explained completely. Light does not have to be either a particle or a wave. It could be both. Or it could be neither. We simply do not have the proper instruments to determine the exact properties of light. In the same vein, man could be body, mind or spirit or maybe something else.
With a quantum jump, subatomic particles can disappear from one place and reappear in another without crossing the intervening distance… Results of quantum experiments support the idea that everything in the Universe is interconnected.
Gravity is the universal fundamental force affecting all bodies while Electromagnetism acts between electrically-charged particles. The physicists at the end of the 19th century thought gravity and electromagnetism were the only fundamental forces that make the universe work.
Through quantum mechanics, the physicists discovered that protons and neutrons are not elementary particles. They are composed of still tinier particles called quarks and gluons. The physicists also discovered a host of other elementary particles. The study of these particles introduced two more fundamental forces – the weak nuclear force and the strong nuclear force. These forces are responsible for the interaction of these extremely tiny elementary particles.
While quantum theory paved the way for the discovery of numerous subatomic particles, the relativity theory enabled astrophysicists to discover more stars, clusters of galaxies, supernovae and even discover (or mathematically construct) concepts such as black holes, wormholes, voids and dark matter.
However, particle physicists and astrophysicists reached a dilemma. Gravity is impossible in Quantum theory while it is inevitable in General Relativity theory. Fortunately, Superstrings came to the rescue. The superstrings theory allowed gravity in the quantum world with a new particle called graviton.
The physicists say that the universe started with the Big Bang. But the Big Bang, the very beginning of the universe, was a singularity – a zone of infinite temperature and density and zero mass. But in such a zone, the laws of Physics cannot apply. Again, the magic of Superstrings theory somehow resolved the mathematical difficulties.
In the superstrings theory, the universe is made of subatomic particles even tinier than the elementary particles called quarks, the basic building blocks of matter. They are called strings, billions of times tinier than an atom. (Others say strings are actually quarks in a particular state). These minute energies vibrate like violin strings and cause complex harmonics which create the electrons, neutrinos and other elementary particles which the universe is composed of.
From numerous superstrings theories, the physicists whittled them down to five. But in Physics, there should only be one theory for one phenomenon. And so came the M-theory, which seems to have unified the five superstrings theories and validated both quantum and relativity theories.
With the M-theory, physicists can resolve the very beginning of our universe – the moment of the Big Bang. M-theory also tries to unify all the four fundamental forces of nature, that is, reduce the four forces into one. The cosmos and the subatomic world will be described by one general unified theory. Thus, the M-theory is sometimes called the “theory for everything” or the “mother of all theories”. Proving this theory is every physicist’s dream.
According to the M-theory, there are eleven dimensions and not just the four that we are accustomed to (3-dimensional space plus the time dimension). And, there is probably more than one universe.
This rather long digression on physics is cited to illustrate that the world we are living in is much more complex than the one described by Newtonian physics. This has ramifications in the field of philosophy and all other fields of knowledge.
In this new paradigm, action is voluntary. Persons are self-moving and cannot predict behavior based on outside variables. For example, if Mr. Rivera were in my place, he would definitely work in Saudi Arabia and kiss the asses of the Arab and American bosses so he could feed himself and his family in a grand manner. This is because Mr. Rivera belongs to the old paradigm.
The new paradigm indicates that Knowledge is created socially. People in the old paradigm like Mr. Rivera believe that the Philippines is a homogeneous state composed of one people, one nation, one culture (whose national hero is Rizal, national language is Tagalog but called Pilipino, national dress is Barong Tagalog for males and baro’t saya for females, national tree is Narra, national flower is sampaguita, etc.)
Benedict Anderson and other writers state that nations are nothing but “imagined communities”.
In the alternative thought, theories are considered historical. This means that the theories reflect the settings and time they were created. Mr. Rivera and his ilk believe in the theory of the sacredness of the nation-state called Philippines. In this theory, the Republic of the Philippines must forever be made intact, centrally-planned with all powers emanating from Manila, that the Christian majority must always dominate all aspects of economic and political power, etc.
In this paradigm, theories themselves affect the “reality” they are covering. In science, this means that the experimenter affects the experiment. Sociologically and psychologically, this means that the ideas of Mr. Rivera affect his surroundings. Thus, he sees only what he wants to see.
The new paradigm recognizes that all theories are value-laden. Theories are never neutral. The Philippine Constitution, be they of the 1935, 1973 or 1987 variety, was never neutral. They are laden with values held dearly by their framers – most of whom were non-Moros.
NEW PARADIGM OF POWER AND POLITICS
As I have written in other articles, the paradigm of Power and Politics must reflect the new paradigm of Science.
Human as Conqueror vs. Human as part of surroundings.
In the old paradigm, man thinks of himself as conqueror of nature, including other people. Since the 1935 Commonwealth, the Indios believed themselves to be conqueror of Moros by thinking themselves to be descendants of Spaniards or allies of the Americans. Since the grant of Philippine independence in 1946, the Indios acted as conquerors of Moros and Moroland. They have denuded the forests of Mindanao through massive logging activities and they exploited Moroland’s natural resources and gave away Moro lands to Indio homesteaders, immigrants, carpetbaggers, etc.. They have made by law all Moroland as public (meaning Indio) domain.
This situation could not last. The Indios must regard themselves not as conquerors of Moros, Igorots, etc. but as part of the Philippine society which includes the cultural minorities.
Change through Authority vs. Change through Consensus
The Indios must not impose change through authority. There must be consensus. When the government tried to create consensus through negotiations with the MILF, Indios like Mr. Rivera rallied the Christian Filipino people to stop the agreement. Using the Senate and the Supreme Court, they again imposed their will to maintain the status quo.
The government bowed down to the wishes of people like Mr. Rivera and imposed a DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Rehabilitation) policy with Moro armed groups. There can be no peace with DDR. And the government, as well as everybody else, knows that.
Centralized vs. Decentralized government
The “old-paradigmers” still insist that governments should have strong centralized government with a vertical power structure. This way, the elites (many of them upstarts) can control everything from Manila.
But now is the time for de-centralized form of government. There must be a horizontal distribution of power. In a multicultural society, this is imperative.
A federal form of government with greater regional autonomy is the way of the future. The European Union is the primary example. Perhaps it is time for a Philippine Union with an Ilocano State, Ilonggo State, Maranao State, Maguindanao/Buayan State, Tagalog State, etc. This way, not almost everything will go to the Tagalogs. Each state can spend its revenues for the benefit of its people. On the other hand, the people will have the motivation to work well and avoid corruption so as to help its state be better than other Philippine Union states. There would be friendly competition and mutual cooperation among states. There would be lasting peace, too.
Power against others vs. Power with Others.
In this century, people must stop of thinking of having power OVER others. It is time to think about sharing Power WITH others. Politics need not be a win-lose situation. It can be a WIN-WIN situation.
If Moros will have the right to determine its destiny, there will be peace in Mindanao and other islands and prosperity will come to the WHOLE Philippines, to all its inhabitants as investments can flow in, tourists will come and people can engage in productive activities.
Vested Interests vs. Respect for Others’ Autonomy
The old paradigm of vested interests, Machiavellian machinations and Power brokers must stop. In the recent US presidential elections, Barack Obama campaigned against the lobbyists whose principals with vested interests have controlled the US politics for a long time. Obama’s victory hopefully meant the defeat of the vested interests. And hopefully, the Philippine power brokers would soon realize that their days of glory are over,
In the 21st century, more and more nations will realize that they have to respect the autonomy of others for a better life for all.
Party/Issue – Oriented vs. Paradigm-oriented
Barack Obama issued the clarion call for Change in his presidential campaign. He said he did not want to be the President of the Blue States (Democrats) but the President of the Blues and the Reds, i.e., of all Americans. And his central theme was for a Paradigm-Change. He called for a stop to the Climate of Fear and freedom from the powers of vested interests (lobbyists).
In the Philippines, parties and issues have long been in the background in political elections. Vested interests and individual popularity are the rules of the game. In this century, politics must be based on Weltanschauung or world view. Those who belong to the old world view can only lead to ruin. The Recession in America and Europe is a clear indication that the old economic worldview is just that – old and worn-out. The extreme unpopularity of George W. Bush, even in his own country, again proves that there is a need for a New perspective on Reality.
Those who believe in the Clash of Civilizations (CC) scenario or the War on Terror need to change their beliefs or simply fade away. The Americans and the British have rejected the biggest proponents of the CC and the War on Terror – George W. Bush and Tony Blair. Great Britain, through its young Foreign Minister has announced that for two years now, they have not subscribed to the principle or idea of a War on Terror. It is time for Philippine politicians to stop thinking of the Mindanao conflict as a mere war between Muslims and Christians. It is much more than that. And the government needs to stop making the War on Terror the excuse for the militarization of Moroland.
Non-Interference/Sovereignty vs. Creative Action
The Philippine government keeps on using Sovereignty an issue in the Mindanao war. Politicians are even demanding non-interference from foreign nations about the conflict in the South.
Philippine sovereignty is at best, imaginary. Russian President Vladimir Putin constantly reminds the world that Russia is one of the VERY FEW sovereign countries in the world. This is his way of telling the US that while it controls so many so-called sovereign countries, it cannot control or impose it will on Russia.
The Philippines, of course, is not part of the very few sovereign countries considered by Putin.
The Mindanao war, by its very nature, necessarily involves other countries. In 1976, then President Marcos was the one who sued for peace. The result was the Tripoli Agreement which was an international legal document but was implemented only in the breach.
The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is composed of 57 nation-states and has taken cognizance of the Moro Problem since the 1970s. The OIC simply cannot be taken out of the picture in any peace settlement for Moroland.
The Philippine government/Indio vested interests keep on citing the Constitution and “Sovereignty” in order to disregard international agreements with the MNLF and now, MILF. Instead of creating hindrances, what is needed is freedom for “creative action.”
The 1987 Constitution was not made in Heaven. It was crafted by mostly old people handpicked by a housewife-turned-President (Cory Aquino).
For creative action, Self-Knowledge is important. The Filipino people, Moros and Indios alike, must look inside themselves and try to truly understand what the conflict is all about so it could be remedied to the betterment of all concerned.
INTEGRATION/ASSIMILATION vs. MULTICULTURALISM/ PLURALISM
Integrating or Assimilating the Moros and other highlanders into the greater Philippine society has been tried and had failed. In the 1940s, Congressmen even proposed that the indigenous peoples of the Cordilleras must wear Western clothing or be imprisoned.
In the name of Assimilation and Integration, the Americans and the Manila government since 1913 “aided the immigration of Christian Filipino farmers from Luzon and Visayas to the sparsely settle agricultural lands of Mindanao and Sulu… Continued immigration brought economic confrontation at the most basic level.” (R. Thomas, 1971: Muslim But Filipino: The Integration of Philippine Muslims 1917-1946)
Thomas, quoting from The Philippine Herald (1/8/27) wrote: “Sen. Sumulong ‘deplored that Mindanao has fast become the ‘dumping ground’ for all the UNDESIRABLE in the local government service. Very often, men of DOUBTFUL ABILITY and CHARACTER are sent as government officials or employees to the Moro region.” (emphasis added)
I wonder if Mr. Rivera’s forebears were among those characterized by Sen. Sumulong. Perhaps his forebears came to Mindanao much later.
Thomas further noted that Senator Sumulong “suggested and called for a largely SEPARATE GOVERNMENT for the Muslim regions of Mindanao and Sulu.” Unfortunately, the old Senator was no longer around to advise his granddaughter Cory Sumulong-Cojuangco vda de Aquino when she became Philippine President and instituted the re-making of the Constitution.
In 1957, the Commission on National Integration (CNI) was created to, well, “integrate” the Moros and other cultural minorities to the Philippine society. In 1975, President Marcos officially abolished the Commission.
As Thomas had pointed out, the range of Moro responses to Filipino development (integration) programs were: “Trial, Adoption, Rejection”. Moro responses remain today as it was then.
Multi-cultural nation-states can only survive if its programs and policies promote a multicultural, innovative and pluralist society where everyone is treated equally and has the same access to opportunities while maintaining their own culture, religion, language and general way of life and with all groups exercising as much autonomy and self-governance as it desires within the frame-work of a “nations-state”, i.e., many nations, one state.
And Mr. Rivera, please try to understand all these. You and people like you need a paradigm shift in your way of thinking. Perhaps there is still hope for you. But please refrain from giving me again your worn-out ideas. Light-years of ideas separate us. I refuse to educate you further with my long replies.