Wednesday, June 29, 2005

And So It Goes

"And so it goes...and so it goes.... and you're the only one who knows."

The burden of the passage of time becomes more and more difficult to bear observing the events of the Philippines.

Circa 1998, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo received a mandate from the people to be Vice President of the Philippines. The President, Joseph Estrada, is from the political opposition but receives the largest-ever mandate in Philippine presidential election history. Such is the fortune of the darlings of the masa.

I can never blame the masa, but I can always blame those who practice such form of populist politics. Have we really run out of leaders to elect, or merely field candidates and use them as lame ducks?

True enough, while Erap assembled a great team from all areas of the ideological spectrum, he did it with a panache that many people hoped would mean genuine reform. But alas, but before the echoes of his proclamation speech have dissipated, Erap literally shot himself in the foot - too many mistresses, too many midnight meetings, too many drinking sprees, and worst of all, the worst kind of friends. Not the evil ones, just the stupid ones.

No one had reined Estrada in, and his dissipation played into the hands of his enemies. While I never liked Erap, I pitied the way he was massacred by his erstwhile friends and allies. The snobs among the power-brokers must have been smiling from ear to ear during the sordid affair of Juetengate.

Here comes Gloria, self-anointed savior and goaded on by members of civil society to make a difference. Only... despite her record as a legislator, Gloria never exhibited the kind of political independence to break away from the mold.

Many people celebrated the ouster of Erap, but those agitators who said "Resign All" must, in some way, prophesied the impasse where the Filipinos find themselves now.

Dare we celebrate being vindicated in our belief, or wouldn't we have wanted Gloria to have done something different. Her thrashing of her Rizal Day 2002 speech of not running again should have unmanned a lot of people. I was, and vowed not to support her, for any reason.

THE ADMINISTRATION FEARED THE COMING OF FPJ. Again, both sides knew it was a numbers game, and the Filipino people merrily played along. So now, you have an unpopular and perhaps bogus President, and a populist tool as Vice President.

The stars smiled at Noli de Castro when he ran for Vice President. Of course, those stars have aligned to muddle up the situation.

Everyone wants proof somewhere that the President cheated. Yes, bring it on. Whatever happens, the institution of the President's office, Congress, Comelec, and even the notion of voting have been savaged.

And so it goes, and so it goes, and no one really knows. Will cynicism triumph? Maybe.

I just hope they pack it in before Christmas.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Coming To A Head


The ongoing political crisis is a big wet blanket. Certainly we need no more goads to deepen our cynicism over Philippine government and institutions.

Here come the radical NGOs like Migrante and spokesperson Maita Santiago saying that OFWs should stop remitting back to the Philippines or not to use banking channels at all.

As to the intelligence of such a suggestion, well, I'd like to demur comment. This is of course, a real no-brainer --- and my answer to Maita and her ilk: Go get a job! Better yet, go get a life!

If mainstream OFWs had a more comprehensive menu on which to base their choices, leaving the Philippines wouldhardly be palatable. As it is, it is hardly a great choice either right now, even with the Philippines in turmoil. A Maita Santiago would keep her mouth shut if this is just the kind ofuninformed, sweeping generalization she is prepared (or ill-prepared)to make. I'm glad I don't have to follow that kind of tune.

However, I feel that ordinary Filipinos still have their say. Notwithstanding the lightheartedness of poking fun with the "Garci" tapes, folks back home must really figure out what to do or these self-appointed protectors will have a field day. It would be nice to have the silent majority come up with something.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Finding Intimacy

My biggest wish these days is that I could take my own advice. The future is not so bleak and and undefined as it once was, only the certainty that life will end someday is much more palpable. I no longer fear that I have no place in this world. I just fear that I will leave nothing behind. A textbook case for Erik Erikson on Generativity/Stagnation, I would surmise. Though maybe I should look into Intimacy/Isolation.

I am somewhat resigned that it is not my fate to rise to rapturous heights of romance - I hate to be a real party pooper, but such rapture is often an illusion or fleeting moments at best. It's not that I fear intimacy - but the pathways in my life, the things I have chosen to do, have kept me from being intimate with just that ONE PERSON with whom I can share the rest of my life. It's funny that it isn't as hard as it seems, but I have a suspicion my simple open-hearted ways lead some to suspect I have murky hidden agenda. WYSIWYG, and perhaps a surprise or two, with my package.

Twenty years ago I had lofty dreams to be a difference-maker. What I didn't know at that time was what it would cost to be that kind of person. I think it was Voltaire who said that the sum of the human condition will be largely unchanged even by historic events - there will always be the poor and deprived, and misery will be the lot of many people regardless of what we do to change that. I'd like to believe differently, but I can only do so much. Maybe I won't even be a footnote to history, but I'd like my life to have been instrumental in making others' lives happier.

It's tough when no one is there to listen. It's tough without someone who will lean upon me, whom I will hold around my arms and keep safe through the tough times, someone whose acceptance will make me more courageous in facing each day.

Until then, I live each day and give as much as I can, and even when my heart is shredded by the vicissitudes of life, so it must be. I won't make deals with my Maker, but I surely hope this will be enough for Him.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Soldiering On

Why does everything I see remind me of her?
Why do the sounds of life go by?
When my heart still shakes 'cause it's unsure
Why am I afraid to say goodbye?

Happiness is always a gamble
Loneliness forces you to soldier on
Never knowing the onset of desperation
Waking up when dreams are dead and gone.

Love is heavily overrated
Romance in a pill is more oh-so-convenient
Drowning yourself in alcoholic bliss
Sex with strangers is much more expedient.

Cynics really lie to themselves
Wearing a wolf’s clothing to hide a sheep’s heart
Masking a spirit that’s been hurt and broken
Not wanting to be alone, but still keeping apart.

So why despair of my memories of her?
I caress the keys dreaming of our first kiss
Holding on to my shell of inscrutability
When she doesn’t know that I exist.