Nationalism or What do Filipinos Care About?

I am presently working in a foreign country as a temporary economic migrant. Someday, I will return home, but for now, I owe my financial resources to this nation whose culture is as different from mine as night is from day.

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I was thinking about my situation when I came across this article from one of the blogs I follow and usually comment on.  It is asking about nationalism, how it can be a bad thing, and finally, what Filipinos care about.

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First, the question of whether nationalism is “good” or “bad” is maybe a question of gradient and context.  When I was in elementary, the message I got from my teachers is that nationalism is “good” – and that is something we should strive for. We sang the national anthem and recited the “Panatang Makabayan” every morning without fail so this vague thing called “nationalism” could be instilled in our young minds and hearts. I had this idea as a child that it is a noble quality to be willing to die for one’s country. Back then, I was not aware of the nuances – i.e: what exactly are you dying for your country for?

Fast forward to Now.

Nationalism has taken on a bad rap.  The idea that “nationalism” is a dangerous concept probably started in Europe with its issues about the Nazis; fascism;  the breakdown of Yugoslavia due to the nationalist tendencies of the states that made it up; and now the deluge of non-European migrants into European soil. Presently, the US President is the poster child of the poisonous “nationalist” – a word which has become almost synonymous with “bigot”.

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A personal story regarding nationalism & immigration:

My aunts and uncles have all migrated to Canada in the 1990s. They have worked there and paid their taxes and eventually became Canadian citizens. So recently, Justin Trudeau has been welcoming Syrian and other immigrants to Canada. I would think that given their previous positions as economic migrants, my relatives would agree with Trudeau’s policies, in the spirit of paying it forward. But, alas … no. When I spoke with my aunt and uncle, all they could complain about was how the Canadian government policies would mean more taxes for them to pay and how welcoming more immigrants would be such a drain on the economy and how these middle eastern migrants are terrorists-in-disguise etc etc. So I just rolled my eyes and stopped the debate because I love my relatives and I don’t want us to spend their vacation arguing over immigration policies.

So what has this story got to do with JoeAm’s blog post is this: “What inspires Filipinos, broadly? Family, faith in the rituals of it all, gossip, and the practicalities of life: eating and getting around. Where is the MORAL foundation?” — particularly, me, mulling the answer to that question.

F Sionil Jose once wrote that Filipinos are  a shallow people (by the way, FSJ also supported and probably voted for Rodrigo Duterte — go figure).

FSJ said that we are shallow because we are “mayabang” (arrogant), we do not read (hence we are under-educated) and that our  mass media is shallow.

Given this “shallowness”, what inspires us then? I mean what would one expect a child to be inspired of? JoeAm gives this answer “Family, faith in the rituals of it all, gossip, and the practicalities of life”– ouch, but true. If we want to get rid of our shallowness, of this narrow definition of nationalism that we have, then we have to start with the family. And because of this we must consider that the unmet need for family planning in the Philippines is presently at 17.5% — oops, but this is another topic for another blog post  🙂

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So, to connect the ideas of this meandering post: do I believe nationalism is bad? Not necessarily, depending on how it is used. I mean, if one will define nationalism as a sense of loyalty to one’s country of birth/allegiance, that is not a perilous thing. That is actually a virtue. However, if one uses nationalism to justify the exclusion or persecution of “the other”, meaning people who are not part of your country of allegiance then that would just be mean. And if nationalism is used to defend one’s laziness and shortsightedness and unwillingness to make the personal sacrifices needed to combat climate change, well, that is just stupid.

Do Filipinos have a sense of nationalism? Yes and no. We have a superficial (“shallow” is the word FSJ’s used) sense of nation. We love our families to our detriment; and we identify with our tribes/regions (i.e Ilokano, Tagalog, Maranao etc), to the exclusion of our identity as “Filipinos”.

Given this fact, the question of “what inspires us?”, with all due respect, is the wrong question. The question should be: “how should that which inspire us translate to love of nation?”

Like, I love my family, my family inspires me. But would my family have existed at all if Filipino nationalists have not asserted our independence from Spain, America or Japan? My grandmother was telling me a story how the Japanese used to bayonet babies in their village. Without Filipino nationalism, she could have been one of the kids who suffered and then I would not exist.

This is a what-if of history (something my aunts get exasperated about when I bring it up, saying it is futile to think of what ifs).  But part of learning history is wondering about what ifs.  And that is what Filipinos lack, I think, why our love of our family does not translate to love of nation. We lack history. Somebody stole it from us (the colonial masters, the fucked up educational system, the present elites, you name it) – and now we fail to be inspired.

 

 

 

Blood and Soil

This morning I am thinking of US Senator John McCain, and of his last words to the country he loved and served for the better part of his life.

Nations live on long after individual lives have perished. And if living a meaningful life is all about loving something greater than yourself then loving one’s country would fit the bill.

But what is a country? What is a nation?

I am not a professional anthropologist or a sociologist or a political scientist. I haven’t read all the required texts on the subject. But John McCain’s letter brought home to me  two conflicting ideas about what it means to be a “nation”.

A nation of ideals versus a nation of blood and soil.

It’s like what does it mean to be a mother – giving birth to a child that is genetically related to you or raising a human being that may/may not be genetically related. It would be great if those two conditions exist at the same time; but what if they don’t? What takes precedence?

What is a country? What is a nation?

Is a country an amalgamation of people who may or may not look like each other, who may have been born in different land masses or continents but have been brought together by ideals and ideas that they share with each other?

Or are we a country just because we were born in the same place with parents who probably shared a common ancestor?

According to a review, this is the “book from hell”. If  we are in the Harry Potter universe, this book will be in the Forbidden Section. A veritable stockpile of Nazi and fascist bullshit.

Blood and soil versus ideals.

In the 1940’s Germany was almost torn apart because a political faction insisted that being a German was about “blood and soil,” hence lebensraum was an acceptable policy.

In the United States, Americans with dark skins had to fight tooth and nail for their right to equality in a country that they have invested in with their sweat and blood.

In my country, there are presently two types of Filipinos: those who believe that an autocratic/dictatorial government is ideal and those who disagree. Are we part of the same nation?

Just thinking.

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So here is a full text of McCain’s last letter before his death. Eat your heart out Barack Obama, McCain’s got style.

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My fellow Americans, whom I have gratefully served for sixty years, and especially my fellow Arizonans,

Thank you for the privilege of serving you and for the rewarding life that service in uniform and in public office has allowed me to lead. I have tried to serve our country honorably. I have made mistakes, but I hope my love for America will be weighed favorably against them.

John Sidney McCain III, RIP, 1936 – 2018

I have often observed that I am the luckiest person on earth. I feel that way even now as I prepare for the end of my life. I have loved my life, all of it. I have had experiences, adventures and friendships enough for ten satisfying lives, and I am so thankful. Like most people, I have regrets. But I would not trade a day of my life, in good or bad times, for the best day of anyone else’s.

I owe that satisfaction to the love of my family. No man ever had a more loving wife or children he was prouder of than I am of mine. And I owe it to America. To be connected to America’s causes — liberty, equal justice, respect for the dignity of all people — brings happiness more sublime than life’s fleeting pleasures. Our identities and sense of worth are not circumscribed but enlarged by serving good causes bigger than ourselves.

Fellow Americans’ — that association has meant more to me than any other. I lived and died a proud American. We are citizens of the world’s greatest republic, a nation of ideals, not blood and soil. We are blessed and are a blessing to humanity when we uphold and advance those ideals at home and in the world. We have helped liberate more people from tyranny and poverty than ever before in history. We have acquired great wealth and power in the process.

We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.

We are three-hundred-and-twenty-five million opinionated, vociferous individuals. We argue and compete and sometimes even vilify each other in our raucous public debates. But we have always had so much more in common with each other than in disagreement. If only we remember that and give each other the benefit of the presumption that we all love our country we will get through these challenging times. We will come through them stronger than before. We always do.

Ten years ago, I had the privilege to concede defeat in the election for president. I want to end my farewell to you with the heartfelt faith in Americans that I felt so powerfully that evening.

I feel it powerfully still.

Do not despair of our present difficulties but believe always in the promise and greatness of America, because nothing is inevitable here. Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history.

Farewell, fellow Americans. God bless you, and God bless America.

 

A Failure of Imagination

This Patrick Henry guy must have been a real macho. I don’t care much about his looks (Alexander Hamilton is more my type);  but his resume would give a girl pause.

Patrick Henry — lawyer, politician, orator, planter, slaveholder, a typical 18th century macho, who had the gall to say these words: “It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.” I am rolling my eyes.

Girls, FYI, Patrick was that guy in the American Revolution who said these famous words: “Give me liberty or give me death.”

Yep, I know … he is the typical guy who thinks the world is only composed of apples and oranges.

I mean, really … there are worse things than death (being tortured out of your mind; a 36-hour labor that results in intrauterine fetal death and genital fistula; seeing everyone you love die before your eyes like what is happening to a lot of Rohingyas, etc etc) … and things that can be preferable to freedom depending on one’s circumstances (i.e if I am on the verge of starving I would probably be willing to go to jail where the meals are assured anytime).

The problem with guys and their  and/or view of the world is a failure of imagination.

But hey, we can’t blame them so much, right girls? It is a very rare male who will ever experience what it feels like to be the minority, the second sex, the one who will be harassed by Harvey Weinstein. For them, freedom is something to fight for above anything …

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Women are the ones who have been trained over and over on how to crouch and wait and endure that which are unendurable. We were trained by our mothers — those women who preferred their sons over their daughters because, what is the point of favoring the daughter who will just eventually turn out a slave? (Our mothers did have a point you know.)

 

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Women can imagine … and we do it a lot.

This is the reason why we are sooo hopeful — because we can imagine alternate realities to our destitute situations.

This is the reason why we fall for bad boys … because we can imagine how he can be a better man (As if! Men NEVER change, not if they can get away with being assholes, what would be the point of changing? … if girls can get the fact of men’s unwillingness to reinvent themselves through our frontal lobes, we would be so much better).

This is the reason why the world has not dissolved into the self-destruction of mass suicides — the fact is  the Universe will end someday, so if women are anything like Woody Allen, neurotic pessimist that he was, then we would all shoot ourselves or fling out bodies into the nearest cliffs by now.

But we don’t do that. Because we are women.

Go figure.

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References

Give me liberty, or give me death!

http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/958077/filipinos-of-the-year-2017-pinoy-ako-blog-and-other-voices-vs-fake-news

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/05/it-is-really-important-to-humanize-evil.html?mid=fb-share-scienceofus

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/06/lolas-story/524490/

Just Because Today is Feast of the Immaculate Conception*

I have always been a Mommy’s girl.

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When I was 5 years old, my brother got sick; so my mother would not let me sleep beside her because I might disturb my brother who had the privilege to sleep with her in view of his illness (that malingering twerp!). So Mommy told me to sleep beside Daddy instead. I erupted into a humongous insufferable fit of tantrums which resulted in a particularly vicious spanking. (When I related this tale to G, he just laughed and said that I totally deserved the punishment. G is another rascal, in the same league as my brother.)

I hated my Dad because he did not speak my language (Ilokano); he always wanted me to hug him (which seemed so needy and hence uncool); and he had all these hair on his face that made him look like a villain (see Max Alvarado, Paquito Diaz et al; all self-respecting Pinoy movie villains have moustaches).

So I loved my mother more (sorry Daddy). Given the choice between being a slut and being an old maid, I would have chosen the latter, not because of any deep abiding principle or a lack of proclivity — but out of love for my mother (who, after she died, I learned had been a slut after all, but that’s another story — courtesy of my Dad).

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from Reporter.ph

I got into all that personal introduction because of Leila de Lima. 

Yup, that Leila de Lima — the one with the alleged sex video and who was an alleged drug lord and is now imprisoned without bail.

I love Ms. de Lima, the same way I loved my mother.

I do not care if she fucked the whole basketball team and made a documentary out of it. (I mean, really, Mocha Uson and Sass Sassot have probably done worse.)

I do not  care if she was a strict, by-the-rules, priggish marmalade who was into human rights in ways that are impracticable in a slave-country like the Philippines.

I do not care if she is fat (although she lost weight after a year in prison and now she looks really great — eat your heart out Digong!), has boring outfits (fashion sense borrowed from Dinky Soliman; Ms. Leila, you should borrow Kris Aquino’s stylists more often), and a pedestrian taste in men (Really? Your driver?).

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from pinterest

I love her for all that she reminds me of my Mom — the steadfastness, the tenacity, the you-don’t-give-me-no-bullshit attitude.

I love that when she testified during the impeachment of Renato Corona, she brought her aging father who was a former government servant into the august halls of the Senate.

I love that she went after human rights violators who ordered the killing of children in their bailiwicks because of drug use — only a woman with true sense of compassion can understand that no, KILLING A CHILD IS WRONG. The child became a monster because of the adult. And if anybody should be blamed and gutted here, it should be the adults that allowed these kids to go out into the world in the first place. Only a mother can understand a mother’s heartbreak when that same child (no matter how Lucifer-like he/she is) dies.

I love how she carried herself during the time in the Senate when every self-righteous so called anti-drug-wannabe in this world ganged up on her. On the other hand, maybe I do not love her that much during that time — she appeared shrill and harpy-ish. But then, with all that stress, can we blame her?

And now, I love her while she is in prison, because of the patience and grace with which she handles this ordeal.

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from Pinterest

When she died, my mother gave me the most precious gift — my freedom.

Fact is, I do not consider her giving me life (as in allowing her egg to be fertilized, going through almost 9 months of gestation and expelling me out of her vagina) as something she gave to me; rather, it was something she gave to herself.

(I did say in so many words, somewhere in this blog, that wanting to be/being a biological parent entails a bit of narcissism.)

But my mother’s dying was another matter. It set me free; in every way a person can be free.

It is probably morbid of me to thank her — but here it is: Thank you Mommy.

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*This is such a looong post, but the point of it is (as the title suggests): It irks me no end that the only time we consider women to be heroes is when they go through Virgin Births. I mean, seriously!?

Stalking Teddy

I have a new crush.

His name is Teddy and he has long hair and he comes from a tribe of warriors.

The Northern part of my country had been infamous for head-hunting activities in their distant past; on the other  hand, the north is also famous for one of the Eight Wonders of the World, the Banaue Rice Terraces.

from Mr. Baguilat’s twitter

Mr. Baguilat is the representative of the lone district of Ifugao. He is 51 years old and I cannot find any details of a wife or partner  when  I googled him.

Can it be that he is still single? Waiting for THE ONE ? 🙂 🙂

In any case, Rep. Teddy is one of the more principled, outspoken, hardworking congressmen we have.

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I came across this interview in The Philippine Star … here are some excerpts:

What is your favorite occupation?
Writing documents, doing my communications, letters, project proposals, concept plans. My laptop is my loyal sweetheart. (imagine that, the guy is unattached!!!!)
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
As a constituent, patience. “Please be patient,” I tell constituents when they ask me for work or about their projects. (Teddy, I am the queen of Patience)

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And no, this is definitely not a paid advertisement.

I just love the long hair.

from aminadoditalentado.blogspot.com

 

 

On History and Heartbreaks

 

You should not love what you will never own. You only set yourself up for a humongous heartbreak.

A broken heart can have disastrous consequences, the magnitude of which depends on who owns that heart.

Cities, states, empires even, have fallen because of broken hearts — and that is in a literal sense.

We only appreciate the lessons of history when we study the personal details of the players that have acted in it.

We are humans, hence, we never learn from the story of others, unless we relate it to ourselves. That is called ego.

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Last Week in History:

Philippine Senator Antonio Trillanes IV met with US Senator Marco Rubio.

As anyone who cares to know is aware, my country is currently in crisisfake news (some of them are even state-sanctioned) is masquerading as real news, innocent people are sent to jail, there is a so-called “drug war” which has killed over 10000 of my fellow citizens, ISIS has ravaged our southern city Marawi where one of my bestfriends lives, and China is rapidly devouring Philippine territory (China has Sauron-like tendencies these days).

My country has never stood a chance to powers that are larger than she is. The Philippines is like all those Hollywood actresses who were sexually harrassed by Harvey Weinstein.

Also, we Filipinos have never had a lot of luck with our leaders. Most of them have pimped, abused or sold us. Or were too weak to stand up for us. In fairness to them, we Pinoys were also babies, we were a bunch of mewling, whining, unlettered idiots. Give us a break, we were in a convent for 300 years (under good old Mother Spain), drugged by Hollywood for 40 years (thank you Mother America), tortured by Kempetai for 4 years (Japan and WWII). We have only been to primary school and high school after 1945. And today, we are like starting college.

So … here’s to hoping for better leaders in the future, and more informed and active citizens to guide them.

Margaux Is Faking It (a short story)

 

“I’m gonna fuck your ass, I’m gonna fuck your ass. Ugh, ugh”

“Yes, fuck me in the ass, fuck me in the ass.”

I yawned. This Chinese-looking guy with a big dick is totally having the time of his life pummeling behind me, uncaring whether my head is hitting the wall with the force of his thrusts.

Men are such pigs.

I really didn’t care much about him; but he looked cute, I was wasted and horny and he wanted to fuck. So hell. Yeah.

The foreplay is routine, to be honest. Lip-sucking, breast sucking,  cunt-fingering – he didn’t go down on me, what a dope. But I got off. Kinda.

It’s getting harder and harder to go off these days.

And dammit, I need to go off. My work which I totally love is totally fucking me.

Like yesterday. I went to this meeting. Or hearing. Whatever.

It’s on fake news. And it was held in the grand, august halls of the Senate. And this porky-looking senator had the temerity to show up. What an asshole! He’s a pig, really. His wife died of cancer and I fucked him once. I don’t even think he remembers. Those were the days when I was desperate … like money-desperate.

I am not so desperate now. I have my page, my following. I have the ear of the most important man of the land. And he likes me. And he’s like my dad (in my mind I call him Big Daddy). He brings me on trips. He thinks I’m smart and funny and just … we are just having fun together. I tried to seduce him once, but he couldn’t get it up anymore, poor guy. So I just blew him. He was very grateful. His cum tasted like  durian.

“Let’s get on the bed, baby,” the big oaf behind me is saying.

“Huh?” I say. I walk the few steps to the king-sized bed in this space-age themed motel room in the capital city. I love this motel. I have a lot great memories here. I don’t know if this will be one of them.

“Now baby grab your tits. Yeah like that.” I lie supine and make myself comfortable. I do as he says. He hunkers over me and licks my nipples. Please … what is it with guys and nipples? I mean, 70% of those I fuck have this thing with nipples.  I’m like, you’re such babies, get a fucking pacifier. I want him to go down on me. But I forgot to shave, and men generally like dealing with your clit only if they can see it. Otherwise, they don’t bother.

I let my mind wander. So yesterday was not so bad. My bosses did not throw me under the bus or anything. They were very protective, actually. (They should take care of me, of course; or they will answer to their boss, Big Daddy.)

I haven’t seen Big Daddy for several days now. He was busy going around the country pacifying the military troops. He’s paranoid about coup d’etat. I laugh at him when he goes all serious like that. I remind him that 16 million of his people want him in office. The military is putz, because he is the rightful king, I mean, leader.

But he told me that this country is fickle-minded and he has to cover all his bases. Poor Big Daddy, he’s so stressed. Last week, he had a showdown with this ex-convict senator who had the gall to accuse Big Daddy of corruption. Big Daddy had to defend himself. Too bad the info this bastard Snoopy gave us was fake; Big Daddy was burned. Snoopy would have to die, of course. Scum.

“Ugh, ugh … you are totally hot, babe. Grab my ass.”

I roll my eyes. My legs are hanging on his shoulders and he’s pummeling on me again. I want to tell him: you have to pace yourself, dude. But guys are dicks, they will go limp the moment you give them instructions.

Anyway, yesterday, I thought I was doing well until Senator Piolo came. He’s an autistic nerd, honestly. I wonder how he fucks his wife. Darling, I can’t find your clitoris, let me grab my map? I swear, he must have memorized Masters and Johnson’s before his wedding night. His wife is a limp-faced, elitist bitch. I hope she  is anorgasmic.

Senator Piolo is a total dope. He had the temerity to make fun of Roy. But Roy is smart and very bitchy. I love Roy; we went shopping in Prada that day in Dubai. Roy’s blog has 700,000 followers, way less than mine (only 4 million, bitch) but when I tease him about it, he just laughs and says most of mine are bots. Roy has a dark sense of humor, but I love him.

Senator Piolo, in his high-and-mighty chair, really went hard on Roy. But Roy held his own. Afterwards, I whispered to him, next time, we’ll gut the nerd. Roy laughed and gave me a high five.

I feel myself getting wet again. Good, great … ahh … so this big, dumb oaf knows what he is doing after all. He pumps like a piston and now he’s gonna kiss me. I take his tongue, taste the apple in his breath. I suck him; he sucks me. He bites my lip. I give myself to the pleasure, riding high on dope and cock. Hell, fuck. Yeah.

 

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“Was it great for you babe?” he asks me after.

I think on his question. I remember yesterday when the nerd asked me: “Were you fair when you wrote those stuff about me?”

I look at the Chinese-looking guy in the eye and say: “Definitely.”