Monday, May 31, 2010

(Blogwatch) Freedom of Information: Antidote to Tyranny

Tyranny may change in form, adapting to the milieu in which it must be deployed and exercised, but it never changes in principle. In the olden days, a naked display of power – an army of mercenaries or soldiers – is enough to subdue an uncooperative populace. The tyrant commands through the monopoly of instruments that physically coerce - instruments of hurt, instruments of pain. The constant principle is that the tyrant gets what she wants, no matter the opinion of those whom she rules. This is the very antithesis of democracy.

Read the rest here.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Farewell My Concubine

Last Friday I met a couple of Japanese filmmakers at a conference. They were here only for the weekeend. Questions. They asked if the food we were having for lunch was 'Filipino.' I said no. Green salad, some bit of chicken with mushrooms and lapu-lapu lathered in cream. No, I said. Not Filipino.

Where does one go to eat authentic Filipino food? I struggled to think of good restaurants. There was Abe. I didn't think Barrio Fiesta served edible food anymore. There was Kanin Club. And...what else?

Where does one go to purchase pirated DVDs? Well. Our collection is quite extensive. I boasted of having seen titles from as far as the Czech Republic.You go to this place in Makati, or this place in Ortigas. Oh and Quiapo of course. You wouldn't find it difficult, the DVDs will come to you.

And where does one go to see "interesting" places? I figured filmmakers might like Cubao X. Mogwai was there. Maybe they had something good screening. But no, they'd already gone there the night before. I blame the heat on the roof deck where we shared a lunch table. I couldn't think of an "interesting" place in all of the city. Well what about the music scene? Where do musicians go to play? There were some places in Makati, but no, I explained, I don't go out anymore. I felt not a bit of shame. I have known you far too long and familiarity has bred ambivalence. My fascination, my appetite for the novelties you offer has waned. No longer a stream of endless possibilities. No longer the malleable paradise of my imaginings. For now.

Two years has been too long. And while you will always be home, like my mother will always be my mother, in you I fear I cannot fully self-articulate. The familiar, the known, the old structures and ways of being all combine to dampen, to repress, to hold back. My city of twelve million has me in a choke-hold. As I roam the planes of your belly and feel the beat of your very heart, I feel to want to cleave unto you again I must away.

In two months, I shall leave again. And in the leaving, the loving.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Filipino Rice Policy

A Film By: Magee Clegg

'Filipino Rice Policy' is an eye-opening short documentary that explores the world of politics surrounding Agriculture in the Philippines. Myths, corruption, and the lack of understanding have allowed the Philippine Department of Agriculture to guide Filipinos towards a facade of food security. Former Secretaries of Agriculture Carlos Dominguez, Senen Bacani, and Roberto Sebastion along with many other well known rice policy experts believe that the Department of Agriculture has been leading Filipinos in the wrong direction for too long, and it is now time to change direction.

Filipino Rice Policy from Magee Clegg on Vimeo.

Population matters. Didn't expect RH to somehow be incorporated in this!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First Article with Blogwatch

I am a new contributor to the Philippine Online Chronicles and Blogwatch. You may read my maiden article "Dear Noynoy" here.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Rule of Kings, Rule of Government

It seems, at times, we are caught in a time warp. Similar configurations from the past revisit time and again as though to punish those among us hard-pressed to learn the lesson. Some say we could be where we were in 1986 and that the magic of People Power will once again be put to test. It is the same power blocs jockeying for position playing by old rules in this tired old game.

Are we truly stuck in a time warp or are we progressing onto something else? I have, from time to time, thrown my hands in exasperation. I am, like you, too close to the action to discern any real change in the way we conduct our politics. I am, like you, alternately exhausted, befuddled, aghast, bemused. But my current location, that is, my position in our polity, affords me little perspective. Once in a while, however, one might glimpse a glimmer of … something new.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Mobile Reproductive Labour

Now that foreign women are doing much of domestic work in countries all over the globe, perhaps the "domestic" will now cross into the realm of the public domain. The person cooking, cleaning and doing the laundry is, after all, no longer mommy, auntie or older sister. It is a Filipina, a Bangladeshi, an Indonesian, an African. And of course a foreign worker could not be bound by invisible ties of love, filial or maternal duty to provide the gift of free service. She must be compensated. And as an autonomous provider of domestic work now commodified, is surely as deserving of rights and protections as one who labours in traditional sectors of the economy.

Providers of reproductive labour - that is, labour necessary to "reproduce" life - now comprise half of the world's migrants to date. The kind of work women do in many societies has traditionally not been accounted for in the measure of productivity. But as women in rich, industrialized countries continue to move from domestic spaces to participate fully in the labour force, someone still has got to take care of hearth and home.

As more and more women seek their fortune by taking care of the children and the elderly of countries not theirs, they suffer a double handicap. First, they have neither the privileges nor the rights conferred by their nationality. Second, the very nature of their work, bounded by the veil of privacy of the home, makes abuse all but a foregone certainty.

For more information, read the Human Rights Watch report on the "Protection of Migrant Workers in Asia and the Middle East."


Read also:
Fruits of Her Labour

Unpacking Choice and Reproductive Rights