Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Deliverance


 
From the early inky darkness of humanity’s ascent, through its dawning antiquity and now the almost naked clarity of its modern times, there has always been embedded in the deep recesses of his latent longings the gaping need for deliverance.  Essentially, that common thread that ran through the ages has been the strong desire for liberation from the vicissitudes of daily living.  Man since his novice years has never had an easy life, as we are taught in the holy books.  He came into this world with a very flawed nature, not in full grasp and control of the contravening forces that inhabit his daily living; forces that appear to go against his very nature.

In early times, man had always banked on the arrival of somebody or some things that would offer him release from his almost inborn sufferings from the world.  And in those times, he had always hoped that some extraneous forces would suddenly appear in the skies to bring him that release.

The ancient Jews also had identical expectations of Christ.  The promised Messiah that would snatch them away from their temporal miseries and lay them down to the Promised Land.  Unfortunately for them, Christ had a quite different idea.  Instead he had impressed upon them with the way he had lived his earthly life that deliverance would not come from outside of man, His excellence and Godhead notwithstanding.

Instead further he had impressed upon them that their rescue would ensue from the necessary changes to be wrought in their own lives.  The radical change being that they all should follow the life of Christ since only that imitation would ensure deliverance for them.  He had said, I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.

Fast forward to the current times.  Our time.  And we are still looking for our deliverer, and still from one of flesh and blood.  In the person of our leader, Dear President.  We vociferously shout to him to deliver us from our vicissitudes.  And he appears to be inattentive, and to his detractors, clueless, about how to bring about that discharge.

His mumbled or jumbled utterances appear to come from nowhere – from nowhere that would give us understanding and wisdom.  Words and ideas seemingly articulated with a careless smirk, a mocking sneer, and even willful disregard and nonchalance for his constituents

 Have we lost our bearings, or were we ever privy to the truth of what Christ had left us as legacy and gift? That our deliverance ought to emanate from us, and not from any forces without, especially those man-made or man himself?

Thus, the US and its boundless benevolence cannot save us, not the EU, Japan and whatever hosts of altruistic countries or organizations people can litanize.  Neither can our deliverance come from those that could provide us with most effective and lethal armaments man or country could devise.

Listen then to the hazy rhetoric of Duterte and in our hearts of hearts try to unravel if we can find parallels and connections with how our deliverance may be wrought for us.   That the overarching message may be that the Way is to cut umbilical ties with all the extraneous forces that we have been attached to all these times, and try working with our own resources and ingenuity to bring about our own progress and development.

Look not from without, but from within.

 

 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Rugby Boys


 


 Unfortunately, not about football.  Rather about feral boys.

Are there packs of feral humans?  Much like the storied packs of feral cats and dogs, and even those of swine, we dread are roaming in the wild or elsewhere. Or maybe inhabiting in the inner cities of urbanized societies?  Or maybe locally, in the dank labyrinths of informal settlements which are choking the big cities in the Philippines?

We are told orphaned feral cats and dogs though clearly already domesticated for ages revert to their elemental instincts and truly become wild, and thus should be treated as such, with extreme caution and to be avoided if cannot be exterminated.  But what about packs of feral humans?  First, how does a wild human being act and think? Like a fictionalized Tarzan?  Or mythic Romulus and Remus?

History has generous accounts about early man in the persons of the Cro-Magnon and Neanderthals.  Though considered more savage than modern civilized man, we are taught that they did have their own intricate systems, standards, and rules for societal living.  And everyone abided by them, or risked being ostracized

So how is a wild human being to be characterized?  We can assume that he still is in possession of his innate survival instincts, thus the drive for self-preservation and procreation still operative. 

Some years back in the US, a number of social thinkers commented on the aberrant behavior of young black thugs engaging in their “wilding” expeditions. This was exemplified by the case of that hapless lady NY jogger who was gang-raped by a number of young thugs while innocently running within Central Park.  Aside from being a gross incarnation of violence and control, rape is still a biological act of procreation.  So in a sense this was a case of public manifestation of elemental cravings for survival, as in self-preservation and procreation.

One may wonder how this is actualized locally here in our city, a world apart from the mean streets of big urbanized centers in very developed and populous countries like the US and those in Europe.

Growing and interacting amidst our daily living is an incipient  bunch of young children, either orphans or left alone by parents to fend for themselves, trolling our streets and eking out their daily existence  foraging for what they could rummage – either by asking or simply taking.  In that dire existence, poverty and starvation are daily companions.  And these street-smart kids have learned to blunt the pangs of hunger.  Sniffing chemical solvents to dull their senses and to induce some kind of altered state that will provide escape from brutal realities which appear in the form of extreme hunger and other social privations.

In this self-induced stupor, the strictures and demeanor imposed by society slowly recede.  These kids now show very little shame in their behavior.  The sense of morality has been severely blunted.  And the fear of the law and social order simply to be tolerated and skirted when possible.  So they crisscross the streets of the city, living in their own parallel universes with minds so stunted as to be considered feral.

Modern society is confronted with these new challenges in its continued drive to be more civilized.  But this regressive trait is surreptitiously manifesting in its young, those neglected or abandoned and left to its own devices. Here locally they are called rugby boys, and lately because of economics, they have opted with the use of Vulcaseal, a roof sealant, which comes in sachets and is cheaper. Rugby is a brand name for a kind of glue used commonly in business and at home.

How many do they number now? Big enough to arouse public response or indignation?

 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

US SOCIETY AND POLITICS GETTING FRACTURED ALONG ETHNIC LINES


 
Image credit goes to this link:
https://sites.psu.edu/sarahnicolegalang/2014/02/20/civic-issues-the-changing-face-of-america/
 

The very uniqueness of the grand social experiment that made the US of A the most successful in the history of mankind is now poised to tear its very fabric from its seams and across its breadth.

The coming together and gelling as one of the many diverse cultures and multi-ethnic groups produced for us the mighty and world power which came to be known as the US of A, the land that immigrants built.

Now, it is my belief that that very same unique and magnificent quality of the continuing grand experiment is poised to rend it to pieces.

There now exists many permanent vested interests, big and small, that threaten the suddenly fragile union.  Vested interests not necessarily defined along political ideologies, but built and strengthened along more identifiable lines like ethnicity and/or race.

Immediately our attention jumps to the series of recent alarming violent confrontations between African-Americans with whites and with police authorities.  Giving rise to extremely activist groups like BLM, Back Lives Matter.  Extend that to the ugly riots engendered by contentious issues of immigration, especially illegal migration, as is the case with Hispanics.  And during such events the showing of foreign flags like that of Mexico is commonplace.  We are witnessing therefore a society at odds within itself.

These are of course the extreme examples of deep fractures in its societal structures.  But there are more insidious and less perceptible ones that over time we have all come to accept and take for granted.  It ranges from the highly visible and accepted NAACP, or maybe like the somewhat clandestine RAZA, to the low-keyed almost unnoticeable social organizations identified by their hyphenated member appellations, like Mexican-Americans, FilAms, Asian-Americans, etc.   Many exist in relative obscurity, some as merely necessary aggrupation for certain social events like Cinco de Mayo, various independence days of various countries, etc.   How can one properly display and honor Philippine Independence if there is no FilAm group to handle it.

By and large, these are well and good, and benign and harmless.  Until we dig and excavate deeper, in society and politics.

In society, this issue could be a significant cause for hindrances to facile integration and ultimate assimilation into the mainstream American culture, which has kept the union intact, one that promotes and honors one society culled from many.

In politics, this could be cause for pursuing advocacies promoting the narrow interests and welfare of the group, rather than the entire community.  Organizations may wield their collective powers to bargain with politicians toward promoting their own narrow interests, again rather than the interests of the collective.   It is not unusual for politicians to promise these groups concessions in exchange for their patronage, concessions promoting the narrow vested interests of the groups which by and large exist for their narrow self-serving goals.

And it is here where its gets murky and thorny, when personal interests trump the pursuit of the general welfare; and in which typically the latter suffers in the exchange.  And this is as we see it in reality, a little cursory observation would tell you that.   A politician in exchange for some promises of some favored appointments or concessions will leverage that in favor of votes from the organization.   And this is multiplied and copied in many situations as to amount to wholesale horse-trading or what have you.

Over and above, we have a country with parts or sectors competing against each other in these greedy and myopic ways to the detriment of the entire polity.

It is a devout wish then to see the day when hyphenated Americans become extinct, and only Americans exist.

And amidst the rancor and mess, we are witness to a little bit of a sobering miracle which has been ongoing with scant notice, in continuance of the experiment started a long time ago.  The creation of one union, amidst diversity, not only in ideology but also in ethnicity. This materializes when ethnic groups intermarry and differing physical lines are blurred and ultimately erased.

The face of America is being changed, to one truly unique and distinctively American, and all simply showing only faint traces of the messy diversity that it emerged from.

And I see this in my own family, which in itself is an amalgamation of many different cultures and ethnicities -  from Filipino moslem and lumads, to Spanish and Chinese, to American Irish or Jewish, to Persian and African American.  And we have produced a wonderful admixture that is quite uniquely distinct from any other.

Is this the future of the US of A? 

We are seeing these inexorable changes in our very midst. Hopefully this quiet miracle is not overhauled by the violent and divisive upheavals we now witness in widening pockets of society and politics. 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Clinton vs Trump


 
How I view the world of cosmic differences of Clinton vs Trump, setting aside sex and bias and my/our personal self-interests.

Clinton is definitely a consummate politician, having spent her life so far in that tumultuous arena, and a seasoned lawyer, too.  As such she is much nuanced in all the known intricacies of the political game, both within and even beyond ethics or our perceived morality.  And she may even be perceived as unscrupulous or amoral in the dogged pursuit of political correctness (imagine her unequivocal support for late-term abortion).  Making use of all these means and more, she with her nuclear family have survived all “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortunes”.  And their collective past has been typified and littered with very dark and foreboding episodes, among them  the Lewinsky case, the humiliating impeachment, Benghazi, the stealthy maintenance of a private email server, blatant lies caught and revealed, etc.; and at times literally littered with dead bodies.   But they have weathered them all, and have even been generously rewarded with financial largesse.

Trump however is essentially a businessman, not a politician and thus an outlier, and maybe more an entertainer given his most recent pursuits and avocation; but, he is definitely all in pursuit of self-interests and self-satisfaction.  Given his orientation he is known to be brusque, brutish, unrefined in the eyes of polite society.  Political correctness is not in his vocabulary, maybe because his outsized ego will not permit it.

His track record is also laid bare and naked, a record also quite checkered in many respects.  Many public bankruptcies, associations with gambling and casinos, and the unhappy trails of many suits filed against him and his enterprises.  But he too weathered all of them, and as testimony he continues to swim in the lap of luxury and opulence. 

In both cases, the rule of law of men smiled at them.  And withheld harsh judgment, though whether justly or unjustly who is to say.

One defining difference in the comparison though is that Trump in all this pursued his own personal interests, while that of Clinton was all done under the noble shield of public service. 

Remember too in public service one tries to do great service to gain approbation, self-contentment, and of course, votes during elections.  But in business, the standard and measure is essentially how rich and influential one has become.

Being now in the same arena, supposedly all in the name of self-less and altruistic service, we will find Clinton so at home and comfortable in her own skin; while Trump unless he realizes the importance of this delineation, will flounder and not be easy on the eyes and minds of the electorate at large.  He has to take on the role and accoutrements required in the political game.  He chose freely to enter, as it were, into the lion’s den.  It is his to adjust and adapt, or be unceremoniously set aside.

Their married lives have also been grist for the mill in this campaign.  And what can one say.  Except both are so not in the ordinary, or are unusual and technicolored.  And neither one would be happy to discuss or revel in the subject during fireside chats with family and friends, especially conservative older folks.  

Though children ought not to be dragged in, but since both chose to bring them in, then they too became fodder for media and committed supporters.

Records would show that Chelsea has led a quite sheltered life, not having to go through any period of privation.  Went to excellent schools, and when done given a very cushy job with benefits that would pop the eyes of any jobseeker.  And when time to get married, everything in high-fashionable style and luxurious elegance, complete with a 10million dollar abode.  A very far cry from the humble beginnings of Bill Clinton in Hope, Arkansas.

Having married at least 3 times, Trump has several children.  The adult ones work under the Trump array of enterprises.  I suppose they all went to excellent schools, too, and when done immediately installed as critical players in their organization.  Listening to the ones who are in the public sphere, they appear to acquit themselves creditably in personality, manners, and cognitive abilities.  I add this because I know little of them, unlike Chelsea who has been in the limelight since childhood.

It is safe to say that probably it is a harder task being part of an organization that could either profit or lose, than just be employed in a big company or tag along with your parents during political sorties, or personal trips, or etc.

 Given all the above, where do our fears of selection stand?  And are they still valid and founded?  As I had declared earlier, between the 2, I favor Trump.  And it is not founded by fears for or against either, for any way we live with fears and uncertainties daily in our lives.  We ought to learn and manage and continue our lives in tandem with them.

What about their politics?

That would take a novel-size treatise.

So in a most microscopic synopsis.  Hillary represents the revolution started by Obama, to “fundamentally change the US of A”; and Trump represents all that the US was before, and going back would make “America great again”.

The details are all eschewed, assisted in no small measures by unscrupulous supporters essentially coming from one side assisted by water-carrying media.  And this technique has not only spawned the current fears, but the outright violence we see in the streets that articulates the divides between the races, and the haves and have-nots. 

The question then is:

Do we like what we see or do we want a return to what it was?

 

 

 

 

Monday, May 09, 2016

Election Epilogue Ushers in Real Prologue


 

 

 

In its earnest attempt to wrap itself on the relevant issues of the day, my puny mind sizes certain things up this way.  Many of us that do social media regularly, may not really want to aim for changes that will drastically change the landscape of the country, physically, economically, and socially.  Maybe “want” is not the right word, but more along this line, that given our fortunate status in life, it would be difficult for us to fathom the kind of fundamental changes that would be needed to bring about real meaningful reforms in society, governance, and in the economy in general.  So “cannot” is the better operative word.

After all, many of us live lives that can be considered comfortable and affluent enough.  And in any context, it is a difficult choice to try and upset the status quo, with its warts and all.  But truly, our privations in life are not anywhere near the same degree and caliber as the poor in the country, which by any worthy standards number too much.  Not just discerned from cold and hard statistical facts, but by cursory ocular observation around where we live and spend our days.  What the poor suffer are glaringly worse in comparison with the challenges in life that we perceive and imagine.  At times, worlds apart.

 And the poor gather in such great numbers, we can categorize them into different groups. We not only have the sorry multitudes of the very impoverished  poor, but the hardly-visible working poor, and the under-employed poor donning a  false fa├žade of physical respectability and success.

 These great numbers are truly the ones in dire want of real reforms, but whether they are aware of the magnitude and requirements of their needs is another issue. One is not even sure if their numbers know what kind of reforms are necessary to ameliorate their unacceptable situations.  So it will be necessary for us the “enlightened” to lead the way to their “promised land”.  Noblesse Oblige.

And in a rare confluence of events, their numbers are joined by those in the upper echelons of society who are tired of the too-long tried and failed rule of the oligarchic elite.  In their utter frustration and restiveness, they too want change, great and novel change.

All this amidst the entire country enjoying good advances in domestic production and services to give it a justifiable claim as a surging tiger economy trailing the  hot heels of progress and development. Except that in micro-economic levels these good stuff do not trickle down any lower than maybe the upper 5% of the population, giving it a very bad case of very uneven and lopsided distribution of wealth and gaping income inequality.

The preponderance of rhetoric and issues in this election then centered around and about that crappy and unrefined outlier, but who was one perceived as divorced from anything and anybody connected with the lamented status quo.

 Maybe it is time to stop paying lip service to that old Magsaysay adage many politicians like to quote in times of wakeful reverie, which shiningly declares that one who has less in life should have more in law.  First to understand what it means, and next how best to make it reality.