Friday, December 24, 2010

Holiday Spirits

Well, I see I managed to pen one whole blog during the month of December. This is attributed to two reasons. One, the wife and I are building a house and spend most of the day fretting over the alignment of the columns or other somesuch. I am the plumber, as we declined to accept the ripoff bids from the local thieves, the most laughable of which was P70,000 for the labor. Heck, gluing big plastic pipes together is easy for someone who spent his younger days gluing little model tanks and airplanes together. It is rather like playing with Legos, or TinkerToys or Lincoln Logs.

The second reason is that my cell-phone modem blew out so I must trundle down to the internet cafe to go on line, and write from the top of my head, rather than compose thoughtfully and paste. As there often is nothing in the top of my head, that is what I write.

Nevertheless, I wish y'all a very happy Christmas and a very merry 2011. Cheers!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Boxing Egos

I find it fascinating that we all grasp for outside structures to define who we are inside. We belong to a church or defend our patriotism with a gun because, without the church or our nation, we are winging it in the world, rather like that space guy in the movie "2001" that Hal cut loose. It is scary to lose the anchors of our being.

One can find enrichment in the church, without question. But one can be a highly moral or even spiritual person outside the church. One can thrive inside one's nation. But one can also soar and grow rich, internally, amidst the inevitable dramas of surrendering to a different culture.

Similarly, one can either listen to what others say, and repeat them. Or one can look about to decide what different people say, look for facts, and make up one's own mind. In our reality-bound sound-bite world, it is easy to generate sense out of nonsense, like the notion of Sarah Palin being president. It is more difficult to generate sense that is anchored in truth and goodness.

I am fascinated by Philippine culture and how the dominance of Ego anchors the dysfunction that keeps the nation from becoming modern and productive. Taking care of self. It is the basis for the trade of favors that sees cousins and classmates appointed to important jobs instead of competent people. It is the basis for corruption that sucks off the wealth generated by the many for the benefit of the few. It is the basis for trash and dogs on the roads and guns in the holster and massacres and extrajudicial murders and every other negative nuance of a country struggling.

When Filipinos can get outside themselves to take care of others, it can become a modern, productive nation. Until then, it is a haphazard collection of Egos. People hanging onto themselves because they can't depend on anyone else.

Therapy anyone?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


The current furor about the Wikileaks release of stolen government documents is fascinating. On one hand, you have those who defend it as an exercise in government transparency. They see the government as essentially deceitful and deserving of the "outing". On the other hand, you have loyal Embassy workers around the world who are horrified that an offhand comment, transmitted from their hand to some other functionary, is now being blasted worldwide almost as if it were government policy. And of course, the release does hurts not just the US.

This is the surreal world of reality living, of internet uses and abuses, of the prevalent mode of sound bite and spin. Get used to it. Big Brother is the sum of all the bytes and bites strewn about the world, creating our environment detached from anything true and principled. The Wikileaks organization that argues for transparency creates chaos through which the truth cannot be discerned by releasing documents out of context and for no purpose other than disruption.

I personally think the Wikileaks people are more deceitful than the US government. And like any dump of pollutants, the sewerage eventually flows downriver and to the bottom of the sea.