Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Juana Change on the RH Bill - New, with English Subs!

Pretty detailed for Juana Change vids. Cool cameos. :-)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Migdal on my mind

A glaring omission on my part, I cannot believe I have only just read Joel Migdal. Written twenty-two years ago, this sounds so achingly familiar. On weak state leadership:

Their basic weakness in the face of continued fragmentation of social control has led them to a political style and policies – the politics of survival – that have prevented the state from enhancing its capabilities by not allowing the development of complex organisation in state institutions. Rulers have used similar styles and policies to pre-empt the development of large concentrations of social control outside the state organisation.

As long as the fragmentation of social control has continued, denying state leaders effective mass political mobilisation, rulers have been reduced to ruses and stratagems; they must build and rebuild coalitions and balances of power centres while using state resources to reinforce existing distribution of power and wealth in society. Such mechanisms may at times encourage economic growth, but they do not create a more capable, autonomous state.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Once more, with feeling

Here I thought I was going to start this leg in my life's journey by immediately beginning to write a seminal piece, an innovative, brilliant contribution to humankind's collection of knowledge. Was I dead wrong. Here I am finding myself reviewing everything I have come to know in over a decade of scholarship. And then I find I have to recalibrate and reorient myself. Where to position my guns? To whom must I aim? I am told I must engage an audience. Why do I need to kowtow to the dominant scholars? To gain legitimacy? To write something publishable? All my critical, rebellious instincts are primed to flee.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Imagining our nation

We are, by nature, prisoners of our bodies and its position in space and time. A change of location affords a different perspective about one's object of inquiry. From my current perch, my mind's eye contemplates our nation as a stranger might a foreign land. Having been removed from its urgency, its demands, its paranoia, I see her as she sits, hands placed demurely on her knee, naked.

As I attend to my life here in the land of zero politics, she flutters in the periphery, her full-throated laughter alternating with wails of despair. While my conscious must set her aside, I see her still in the literature I read. I read her in my newsfeed. I recognize her in the face of a yaya walking her charge to daycare. She sits there alternately mocking, pleading, begging my attention. Mi patria adorada.

What makes a patriot? What makes a Filipino? Must I be home? Must I answer her calls? Can we not imagine her from where we are, wherever we are on the planet? I used to dream of her once, dressed in the best possible garb of hope. Justice, love and wealth deferred. She was, then, too from a distance, a bundle of potentials. I came home, for a while, and lived her existence. There I sat, steeped in her urgency, her demands, her paranoia. A dutiful daughter can only take so much.

Can we not imagine, together, a nation on the brink? Can we not tell this story, our story, from where we are on earth? What do you see from where you are today? How do you see? How would you, with the luxury of distance, write our story? How would you imagine our nation?


I am happy that Filipino Voices is back on the interwebs. And I am happy to be writing for FV again :-)

Friday, October 01, 2010

"On Carlos Celdran's Arrest" by Mahar Abrera Mangahas

Lifted from Mahar Abrera Mangahas' Facebook Note, this is an excellent defense of Carlos Celdran:
Other than the UAAP Final (a game I actually watched and enjoyed, temporarily overcoming my aversion to anything athletic), a few other significant happenings have occurred in the past few hours. First is President Aquino actually sticking up for the government and willing to face excommunication over the issue of reproductive health; and second is the arrest of Carlos Celdran, walking tour guide extraordinaire who was arrested this afternoon for heckling Cardinal Rosales while the latter was conducting a mass at the Manila Cathedral.

Some have commented that Celdran deserves his punishment because what he did was offensive---that certain places are special and thus should be immune to an individual's demonstration of his politics. A church, some argue, is not the place where politics should happen. Never mind that it too is very much a public space. (Which, seeing that it's not taxed, is indirectly subsidized by the government.)

The thing is, what makes a church special? Because we believe it is? Because it was consecrated? Sanctified?

The truth is it's just a pile of cement which has become special because people just say it's so. Dangerously, the idea that this space is special has given its occupants more armor against criticism. The Church has shown it is willing to engage in public demonstrations against government---in fact, that's part of its threat to oppose reproductive health bills---but apparently, for a citizen to show displeasure in a creative manner at a church is forbidden because it just isn't done.

This is foolish. No edifice should be allowed to isolate and protect people, notably leaders, religious or not, from the very criticism that we deserve and have the right to deliver. Various pulpits across the country have been used as platforms against government, individuals and philosophies present in society. The difference is we are vulnerable to the Church wherever we might state our issues against them, as they are allowed to entreat their followers to harass officials at the gates and shout down public meetings from the rafters. Yet they are the privileged who can retreat to their sacred spaces and continue to deliver the worst of the their messages with relative impunity.

So Carlos Celdran took the fight to where they least expected it. Good for him. They should learn that they cannot retreat and escape from any criticism. The reason why the Church likes a public demonstration is it generates greater emotional impact. Perhaps it is time they learn how it feels themselves; they have been able to ignore everything else so far.