Saturday, October 06, 2012


Belief is a powerful thing. It bids us cross unknown oceans, leap off buildings and commit acts of bravery. Belief is the anticipation of something else beyond the line where the sky swallows the limit of vision. We commit to such belief. And as we put one foot in front of the other, the horizon reveals, bit by bit, that which the earth’s curvature has so far concealed. And what do we see? The dreamer would have pictured an ocean of flowers, the pessimist - sure disaster, the realist - more of the same. Those of you who cast your votes in 2010, what see you now?

Monday, October 01, 2012

Little Red Dot

Two years have come and gone. There were so many things to write about this country, and yet a pathetic showing of 5 entries according to my 'labels.' I was otherwise consumed. Singapore can suck the soul out of you. I certainly felt so when I first landed here. I thought its spirit was as arid as the sea air was humid. I thought its denizens were hollowed-out automatons masquerading as humans. And even though now I do think somewhat differently, I still feel they are not as human as the creatures of Manila. Life here is centred around accumulation and its twin - spectacular consumption. The whole country is soaked in capital and calculation, from the kid taking tutorials and attending two kindergartens to the Ferraris zipping by in Orchard. It is what Manila aspires to be. Predictable, orderly, clean.

Don't get me wrong. I like it here, if only because its easier on my aging bones to travel, to launch myself from spot to spot. I am not held hostage my flooded streets, raging typhoons and horrendous traffic congestion. But for all the ease of transportation, I find my mind is not as mobile as when I am in Manila. The flatness of order does little to stimulate the senses, to tickle the imagination. The people here have been blunted and tamed. It is any wonder then that for all the millions they throw on the arts, they have not yet produced any artists? And for all the resources they have thrown on start-up ventures, they have yet to produce entrepreneurs?

This country produces nothing. But it is the richest nation on earth, with the most number of millionaires per capita. It has been engineered to service capital flows and has positioned itself strategically to skim off manna from mobile money. The price it has had to pay is the soul of its own people. Some will say, it is a good enough bargain.