Sunday, September 26, 2010

Upward Bound . . . and a Bump

This morning in my half-sleep whilst sipping my strong Philippine coffee, Seven Flavors, if I get the translation correct, it struck me that I somehow feel more secure in the Philippines this year. It is nothing tangible, really. It is just a sense that the government is honorable rather than ruthless. It may not be competent, always. Who is? But it is not totalitarian and manipulative in the guise of sweet concern for the public, the sense I had of things under President Arroyo.

I also think President Aquino generally thinks about the well-being of the Philippines first, and his own gains second. That, too, is a reversal. It is inconsistent with how so many think here, where self-gain is all that matters. Principles like honor and integrity and compassion and generosity hold little stock. The "trade of favors" that underlies corruption in the Philippines is deeply and broadly rooted, and is essentially the foundation of self-dealing that undermines high-standing principles.

My wife and I were driving along a narrow road; we came upon a crowd of motorcycles, the owners of which were gathered at a cock-fight about 25 paces away. One of the motorcycles was parked in the road, blocking it. I honked. No one responded. My wife got out to try to get the attention of the owner. 50 guys turned and looked and someone told told her to move the motorbike. She is 4'9" and the bike was big, but she struggled to get it out of the road. Not one guy was gentleman enough to step over to help.

It is a frame of mind. You think of helping others, or you don't . . .


  1. I almost asked you why not be the gentleman if no else would;but that was not the point.If you got out of the car, they might mistake it as being confrontational and it might have gotten uglier,

  2. Karl, yes, that was a choice, but I was wheeling the car through a narrow alley of bikes and was stuck. The incident reinforced, for me, the general observation that thoughtful regard for others does not run high hereabouts. I would advocate for a kinder, more compassionate Filipino style, but don't know how to do that without being offensive.

  3. Your experience and observations are apt..... pardon me if I equate it to benign0's downplaying the inherent values of the pinoy like in this case the so called bayanihan spirit.

    some of the values and traits displayed by our forefathers are gone,
    it maybe because of nature or because of nurture.

    But some bad habits really die hard.

    That cockfighting habit we got from mexico or some other place remains to be a hard habit to break maybe like jueteng.

  4. I laugh that fighting chickens embody the macho spirit of the common man hereabouts. I suppose there were not enough bulls to take up a different fighting tradition from Mexico, or Spain. And somehow a rodeo featuring the roping of a karabao from the back of the little horses found here is amusing to me. I grew up in rodeo country USA, and once had my face planted in the dirt by a bucking steer. But I have since migrated to books . . .

  5. what if we had that bull fighting arenas here.
    I remember reading yesterday's news about the galleon trade where many flora and fauna were exchanged from that galleon trade ,apparently not enough bulls were available for bull fighting.
    Speaking of rodeos,when I was a kid my dad brought me to a rodeo somehwere in Southern California.I still remember it thanks to the faded polaroids my sister used to keep handy.

  6. If those were the "Mad Dog Motorcycle Club" from Makati City, that would of never happened. They may look bunch of rowdy boys, but they are hell of fun to hang out, and ride with. The Mad Dog MC, are all honor and respectable club.


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