Saturday, September 24, 2016

Sundayphobia and thinking of inventing my own religion

It's Saturday night and tomorrow is church day. Since school started, I have been skipping church. One of the reasons is exhaustion. I really need rest. Saturday is not enough to recharge the body and the mind from the week of teaching, writing and filling up forms, class management, coaching, etc. Monday to Friday is just too damned enervating.


Waking up on Sunday morning and dressing up, the routine feels like work. Instead of sitting down and sipping coffee, listening to old music, watering the plants, taking the time to be bored, I will be sitting down in a plastic chair for an hour or more listening to stream of consciousness stuffs or a pulpit pounding from an ill prepared preacher.  (I used to be a preacher and I know how challenging it is to preach especially when your not in the mood.)

I'm not saying church is bad or something, I'm speaking for myself here. I have great respect for church people, heck I am still one. It's just that I need to get away from people to have time for myself. I don't hate people but working in school where I mingle with hundreds of children and scores of teachers, the noise and the ruckus, just drive me nuts. Even though we have breaks in the school, they are not really breaks because I cannot get away from the noise and the voices of children asking for help and other things.

I need a quiet time for myself to recharge. I guess for the extroverts, this is something they find difficult to understand. (Here I am explaining myself, again.)

Instead of being a church going religious human being, I am thinking of becoming a monastic hermit. Not really an hermit in the tradition of the desert fathers, but a weekend hermit. What is a weekend hermit? I don't know, but I guess a weekend hermit would be a hermit who becomes a hermit only during the weekend. A stay at home hermit that spends time mediating on the mystery of life and the deity and maybe humming a hymn or a mantra to get that vibrations going that would connect the divine aura with the frequency of the brain waves, which in the process of spiritual oscillations would then be in synchronicity with the hame-kame subconscious oneness with the whole reality.  

Contemplating of inventing a new religion.

I am inspired by Calude Vorilhon, the Frenchman who invented Raelism. Raelism is a UFO religion. Ok, so an alien religion, of course, will raise red flags. It's crazy and only a mentally troubled mind could invent a religion based on the idea that humanity is an alien project. And that in the long process of evolution, humanity will one day achieve deification or alienification where we could be like our alien creator. Though the religion sounds crazy, the earthly message of this knew religion is almost the same as that of the orthodox religion: salvation or in this case transcendence and singularity.

But come to think of it, its not really that crazy because if you read John 3:28, Jesus said that he was from above and not of this world. So, if you're from above and not of this world, what are you? I know I'm being blasphemous here but what else could he be?

Anyway, as a starting point of this new religion, I'm thinking original. It must be something that no one has thought of before. And of course, I need a supreme deity and a demi-god, a halfway-adapter-like connector that would bridge the metaphysics with the reality as we experience it. I am thinking of the ULTRAELECTROMAGNETICROBOT VOLTES V. The Robot is a good choice because the personality of the Robot is really five-in-one. So, I guess it would be a quentinarian anthro-cybernetic-deity. Anyway...  

Orthodox and even unorthodox religions' metaphysics is almost identical in that they all yearn to transcend our humanity. Though their theologies may vary but there's this very basic eschatology of deification or the shedding of our physical body and achieving unity with the deity or with the "one". Of course there are various method to achieve this deification but mostly religions basic doctrine is living the ethical and religious life. 

Add caption
Religions generally think big, like the universe and the cosmos, heaven and hell, Atman and the one etc. But I'm thinking small. I am thinking of inventing a religion based on the Atom. Of course, one of the challenges of the Atomic based Religion is that it could be criticized as a materialistic religion. And a materialistic religion does not have appeal to the people with a high level of existential intelligence. This religion must also tackle the deep proving question of the meaning of life. 

I'm still formulating the systematic theology in my head.

I need a prophet.  Anyone interested? 


This weird.

Friday, September 23, 2016

He admitted he's a killer, so why waste time? Wow De Lima


Everybody knows that Duterte is a killer. The guy even bragged about the number of criminals he has executed. Whether this is true or just bravado, does not matter, what is important is the message he sends: I will be merciless with criminals. This is how he turned Davao into what it is now, by becoming the mayor-punisher. 


Though the CHR and the Ombudsman's investigations and fact finding missions could not pin down the mayor, every Davaoenos know that their mayor-protector instilled fear among the criminals by showing them no mercy, it's either stop or die, no middle ground, no justice system for the criminals to seek shelter and protection from, it's the highway or the grave.


So, I think the senate investigation on Extra Judicial Killings and the result it could have put out i.e. if Sen De Lima was not ousted, would not mean that much to the Filipino. Sen. De lima sees a man-eating tiger and proved that it's man eating tiger. The Filipinos sees a man-eating tiger and knew it was man-eating tiger. So, what's the use of telling everybody that it's a man-eating tiger when everybody knows that the animal is a man-eating tiger. It's not as if De Lima has shown and proved anything new. But the problem with De lima's crusade is that she's prosecuting the president for the present alleged killings using evidences from different and past alleged killings. Not synchronized.

I admire De Lima for her guts. It takes a person of great courage to stand up against the temperamental and foul mouthed chief executive of the country with the power of the whole government behind him. Though I disliked her misdirected sympathies, and I bashed her once too often on FB for the impression that she's lawyering for the criminals and the drug pushers, for me, though, she looks real. I believe she's clean and she's sincere in her advocacy against these killings it's just that she opted to take the unpopular side. 

When the President and his men started the counter-attack with the matrix and the videos , etc. it was only expected. I am not incline to believe these accusations because as Sen. Lacson said, the papers and the matrix are just papers and videos can be edited with great clarity that it's impossible for the naked eye to detect the manipulations. Unless backed by corroborating and circumstantial evidences, these accusations and papers are just papers.

This dirt war is normal in Philippine politics but judging from history and after the twists and turns, in the end, these politicians always end up together. Wasn't it only a few years ago when the then DOJ Sec. De Lima prosecuted and hunted down Sen. Lacson for the alleged murder of Bobby Ducer? After a year in hiding, the CA annulled the arrest warrant and Sen. Lacson surfaced to the humiliation of De Lima. Fast forward and Sec. De Lima was elected a senator and here they are now sitting together in the senate panel conducting an investigation into the EJK. 

Anyway...the drama continues. While the senate is continuing the hearing on Extra Judicial Killing implicating the President, the House of Representative is conducting its own investigation implicating Sen. De Lima.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Martial Law: Fact in the books, the truth in experience

Tomorrow, September 21, 2016 is the 44th anniversary of the declaration of martial law by President Ferdinand Marcos. 

I was born in 1972, a martial law baby. My clear memory of the 70's, I was enrolled in the Kindergarten, 1977. Taytay then was a rural town with acres of rice lands and plenty of vacant lots, not crowded like today. You could go out of the house with the door open and not fear anything would be stolen. This was because most of the people in the neighborhood knew each other that went back generations, so the relations goes beyond being neighbors, it's almost family.

Growing up in the martial law era and a child at that, it's impossible for me to have an idea of what life was before the declaration, I could make no comparison, but all I knew was I grew up in a relatively peaceful environment. 

But there's one thing that I remember about the 70's, the curfew. I was forbidden by my parents to go out of the house when darkness comes. I am told that policemen and soldiers kidnap children and put them into jails.

But the curfew scare was really unnecessary because it was rare to see children playing outside the house. Well, for one, there's no street lighting except on the highways. 

Also, the TV, every time President Marcos spoke all the TV channels would stop regular broadcast and air his speech. Other than that, I don't have bad memories of martial law. I was in  grade school, so, I guess I'm still innocent.


My parents were simple folks. My father was a heavy equipment operator and my mother was a plain housewife. We live in a small house. We had no business and had no properties to speak of like the rest of millions of ordinary Filipinos. We were not rich but I never felt we were impoverished, at least we ate regularly and went to school regularly. Life was simple, as long as there's work, as long as there's food, life goes on. 

I guess to common Filipinos then, life is what is lived. Marcos, it could not be denied, did accomplished a lot of good projects. 

Many Filipinos do not have a bad feeling about martial law it's because it didn't affect them directly. And millions of Filipinos still speak of Marcos with admiration, my mother included. try to ask your parents and grandparents, and see for yourself.

Whatever freedom martial law curtailed like freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, sequestration of businesses etc. for most of the common Filipino laborer, these things are beyond them. I mean, imagine what the common laborer talk about. Whenever I tag along my father to his work, the talk was usually about the project, beers, basketball, etc. Common folks engaging in common conversation, what is freedom of speech to them?

Of course, for the victims of martial law it's a different story. They have every right to be angry. They have every right to tell, to educate people. But to the common Filipino who lived in peace during the martial law, they have different stories. They are not victims and I don't think they will think of themselves as ever being victims and they will not be convinced as being victims of martial law. They have different experiences. To many, martial law is good but for most, martial law is neither good nor bad. And this drives the anti-martial law people nuts because they find that it's getting more and more difficult to  proselytize to people the evils of martial law. Their call for vigilance is an anachronism.

I guess in the long run, time will come, and I hope it would, that martial law will just be another fact in our history.

Anyway, I always thought that historians, like grammarians, are supposed to describe and not prescribe. So, start writing facts and leave the search for truth to the philosophers.

Me, I don't care Marcos, Cory, Pnoy etc.. One of the best years of my life was during the martial law era--childhood. 



Monday, September 19, 2016

Alyas Robin Hood and why it's not good and Julio Valiente makisig na lalake


This meme has made the rounds on Facebook and the picture says it all. This "new" TV series is a genuine rip-off of DC's "Arrow". 


I have always complained--its obvious by the way--that our local superheroes are direct copies of American superheroes. There's Darna=Wonderwoman. Gagamboy=Spiderman, Captain Barbell=Shazam, etc. 

Now, here comes Alyas Robin Hood, which from the title alone proudly flaunted it's lack of originality. 

Okay, what's my problem here?

The hero looks like Oliver Quinn and not Robin Hood. Hood is an English folk hero. His story is well known. 

Judging from the title alone, I guess the story would be, hmmm, like that of Robin Hood. Steal from rich, give to the poor, and a few garnish and spices here and there, and what you have is Robin Hood. 

Now, how do you re-tell a new-old story that would interest the viewers without the viewers realizing that what they are watching is an old-new story? Maybe give Robin Hood a few tweaks like he could be a lesbian, or a helpless and demure lady during the day and a tough WWE thief-archer at night, or he could be a tough-thief-archer at night and a gay masseur during the day. 

Instead...

Why not create a TV series about a purely Filipino fictional hero. Instead of re-inventing and re-hashing and re-heating foreign heroes, why not go local! Carlo J, Caparas' "Julio Valiente" is a good example of a local fictional hero. Of course, the secret identity thing is copied from most American and foreign fictional heroes, but at least Caparas tried to infuse Filipino in Valiente. 

The guy wears a salakot and uses a cloth-guided-heat-seeking dual bolo, which judging from the movie, is capable tracking and taking down villains at an effective range of ten meters.

Valiente's blades are made from an adamantine (wolverines claw is made from adamantine) like metal capable of splitting bullets.

I have to admit, Valiente's story line is unmistakably inspired by Zorro, but at least there's an attempt to Filipinize him.

Of all the weapons , they have opted for  the English long bow. But Filipinos do not have long bows. It is not our main weapon. In fact, historically speaking, bows were not even mentioned as weapons used by our patriots against the Spaniards and the Americans, considering that they offer more range than the itaks and the bolos which was the main weapon of the indios.

I have nothing against the English long bow and we do have our own bows but at the very least, the network or whoever is in charge of GMA's TV entertainment section should have thought of a native Filipino weapon like the bolo or arnis. 

Why not arm the hero with our own bolo, which the American soldiers found very effective in close combat. The bolo proved its worth during the Second World war when used as a close combat weapon. In fact, the Germans had the surprise of their lives when their bayonets were met by a meter long cleaver like blade. During WWII an American Negro soldier named  Henry Johnson was able to fend off and kill bayonet wielding German raiders using a Filipino bolo knife. So, if the foreigners admires our local weapons, why not use this as the weapon of choice? Like Valiente. 

Or arnis.










Anyway, TV could be used as powerful tool to promote our culture but instead of doing that, they do this.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Stranger things and the strangest thing of all the strange things in this strange thing


A couple of days back, I saw the pilot episode of Stranger Things on Couchtuner. (Do be careful when opening this site. It contains a lot of links that could lead to some nasty sites. Exit the false links first by clicking on the "x's" before clicking play) I was not hooked by the first two episodes because my impression was that it's going to be a stretched version of Spielbergs' Super 8 or  ET or something like that. 



I had this idea that the series is going to be about an alien that escaped a government facility and will end up being befriended and protected by a group of kids, and so on and so forth, and in the end the alien is reunited with its family back on its own planet somewhere out there in space. 

How do you stretch a story like that when the theme has been explored and has been expended by tons of movies and series about it. I guess, in the long run the series would fizzle out then be cancelled.

Last night, thanks to the abnormally fast internet speed, I was able to watch the whole of season 1 and I was hooked. 



I guess interstellar aliens and interstellar travels are becoming passe and more films are exploring the idea of inter-dimensional travel. The problem with interstellar travel is the vast distance between galaxies hence a conventional faster-than-light travel still poses a seemingly unsolvable problem since speed is subject to time, and even at FTL a star or a system billion of light years away would still take a very long time to reach their destination. 

 So a new method of interstellar travel had been proposed, and that is through wormholes. And wormholes, since the idea is to bend time and space, could result to inter-dimensional travel so that instead of travelling distances, what could happen is that the traveler could end up in the opposite plane, that is if time-space is a fabric, or to another parallel or opposite dimension as expressed in the multi-world interpretation of quantum theory. (This wayward travel from inter-stellar to inter-dimensional travel is explored in the movie Event Horizon.)


Stranger Things explores the idea of inter-dimensional travel. The mysterious character "11" possesses psychokinetic abilities which allows her to move things using her mind but her most interesting power is her ability to travel outside her body which gave her the ability to listen to other people's conversation making her a human "bug". But in her out of body forays, she comes in contact with an alien that inhabits the dimension.  

The government scientists studying and manipulating her abilities encourages her to make contact but in the process she accidentally opened an inter-dimensional portal that allowed the aliens to enter our dimension.



In the small town of Hawkins, strange things starts to happen. People disappears and the police are surprised when the disappearances are solved by state troopers. But when Will Byers disappears, his mother, brother and friends searched for him. The Hawkins police chief becomes suspicious and investigated Byers cadaver which lead to the discovery of his fake body and the government conspiracy to cover up the disappearances.

"Eleven" escaped the government research center where she ends up in the small town of Hawkins and befriended three kids who helped her. She reveals who she is and that it was she who opened the portal. The season ended with Bill Myers being rescued from the alternate dimension called " the upside down" and with Eleven closing the portal. A month later, Myers, in the bathroom, coughs out a slug and then experiences flashes of the upside down.

Some stuff...

Okay, so Eleven or El is able to travel between dimensions but how does she do it? Theoretically a lot of energy, some theoretical physicist even say it requires the power of  a star, is needed in order to create a worm hole. First, time and space must be warped and then a controllable black hole must be created in order to create a worm hole between the warped space-time fabric. 

In the traditional space-tech sci-fi this is usually solved by warp-engines but in Stranger Things, inter-dimensional travel is achieved by a different means, though the power of the mind. The background story is that in 50's a lot of experiment  was done by the US Government using people with ESP or with potential ESP with the help hallucinogens like LSD and sensory-deprivation-tanks in order to expand the abilities of the mind. And it is this scenario that Eleven's ability is introduced, she is the daughter of one of the subjects of the experiment and she is abducted or adopted by the laboratory to be its subject.

I guess it difficult to overcome the idea of thre separation of the body and the mind.

Anyway...

The concept is interesting, though this is not the first time this idea is explored because most horror movies i.e. if you removed the religious references, is really all about inter-dimensional crossings. 

Is it possible then that the story is a sort of a brain-in-the jar experiment and the whole reality or universe is just a virtual reality created by an organic computer, Eleven's brain. This is one explanation that I guess would satisfy the physics because if one mind could affect reality in such a way that it could open portals, think of the implications of having two or three etc. minds with the same abilities and the chaos it could create.  

Of course, this is sci-fi and I don't expect any real-life rules to work in it but it's supposed to make one to sit down and think about the unexplored part of our existence whether it be dark or upside down because there so much more to this life we live in than what we experience.


Saturday, September 17, 2016

Is there such a thing as judicial killing in the RP? and blah,blah,blah....

Every time I hear  the TV network's hourly news, I watch out for updates about the senate hearing on extra judicial killing. I am specially interested on who would be the next witness or witnesses.

Motabato, the latest witness, was an interesting one. His statements were a little off the norm and though both senators Delima and Trillanes thought he was reliable and credible , his narratives were a little too tall even for me, like shooting someone with 200 rounds yet still lives, or ripping a salvage victims stomach and feeding the innards to the crocs, killing 50 up to a thousand people, etc. 

I don't know if I am making sense when I say that in order for lies to be believable it must at least be believable. He should have at least put an effort to camouflage his stories with a little logic and a semblance of consistency. I don't know how lawyers appreciate a witness' statements but even an uneducated tambay knows when he is being taken for a ride.
   
I have followed a lot of senate hearing and the last major hearing-in-aid-of-legislation was the blue ribbon committee hearing about the Binay family, the plunder case, which everybody knows was really a demolition job against presidential candidate VP Binay. That hearing was a prime time hit because of the publicity created by the tons of money and people involved, the intricate money laundering operations, and the various conspiracy theories floated around.  

I remember how Senators Cayetano and Trillanes worked harmoniously in tandem to prosecute the Binays. Tons of documents have been photocopied and distributed and scores of experts called upon to swear and tell the truth and nothing but the truth but after a prolonged and sometimes heated exchanges, the issues suddenly died out without any proper closure.

I have yet to hear any law or laws that have been crafted as an output from that hearing. 

Now, another senate hearing-in-aid-of-legislation is being conducted by Senator Delima's Justice Committee that seeks to dig deep into the alleged extra judicial killings (EJK) brought about by the government's anti-drug war.  

In one of those twist of fate, like in an inter-generation Michener novel, but in this case it's just a few months time difference, the senate's dynamic senator-prosecutor duo find themselves on opposing sides. what was once a lovey-dovey duo are now hissing rival cats out to kill one another's microphone. In a show of childishness, Trillanes tried to bully Cayetano into silence and when it did not work, Trillanes shut off the latter's microphone. Trillanes behaved badly but Cayetano overplayed the victim part, I think. 

Anyway...

Like many of my fellow countrymen, I am interested with the hearing. I was, admittedly, taken by Sen. Cayetanos PowerPoint presentation on the term "extra-judicial-killing". His argument was that under AO 35 there must be certain qualifications before a killing could be labeled "extra-judicial-killing." The media has been reporting a lot of killings and most of these deaths are simply labeled EJK even though some are obviously common-crime related .

But I was thinking, if there's an animal called  "Extra-Judicial-Killing", there must be an anti-thesis, an animal called ''Judicial-Killing." It follows then to ask, what is judicial killing? I searched google but there was no hit. So, using my knowledge of basic English, I could only surmise that judicial killing is a killing of a person or animals even plants that is sanctioned by the law--a legal execution. Of course, this is a layman's definition, there could a three-thousand-page-Latin laced definition of Judicial Killing, but, heck, I'm just a grade school music teacher.

The next question, is there even such a thing as judicial killing here in the country. The death penalty has been indefinitely suspended since 2006 by then president Gloria Arroyo and the last judicial killing was the case of convicted rapist Leo Echegaray in 1999. 

I mean, just follow my meanderings here, so if there has been no judicial killings or legal executions since 1999, it must follow then that every killing from self defense, to homicide, to rodenticide, to insecticide, to parricide, to murder, to massacre, to fighting insurgency, in the Philippines can be technically classified as EJK since these killings are not sanctioned by law. 

The legal semantics must have driven former President Aquino's legal team into crafting AO 35, which defines EJK and distinguishes  it from common crime related and non crime related killings.


Crazy...

Anyway, the hearing is really about Delima vs. Duterte. The bad blood between these two have been going on for decades now and there's little chance that both will back down. Even though I am a pro-Duterte guy (but not a Diehard one because there are things I don't agree with PRRD), and though I disagree with Senator Delima, I admire her efforts to oppose Duterte because in any democracy an opposition is a requisite, without an opposition, democracy becomes an oxymoron.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Coffee-rnican revolution in religion and why too much coffee drives me nuts

Okay, it must be the three cups of coffee I drunk this afternoon. Classes were suspended, it was raining hard and the temperature dropped, coffee was irresistible. The caffeine is still running around my head.


I have read John Hick's God and the Universe of Faiths

I have been thinking about what's in the book since I dabbled into theology, which I was never good at  by the way, a couple of years back. 

One of the things that I find difficult to wrap my head around about religion is the idea of exclusivity. Exclusivity is the claim that one's faith is the only true faith and all the other religions are false, that they need proselytizing and at it's worst enemies to be overcome or conquered.

Exclusivity is a mechanism used by a group of people, family or tribe or nation to preserve its cultural identity. This idea is associated with a local god or a tribal god. A good example of this are the Jews. By maintaining a unique relationship with their tribal god, they have fought off foreign influences.  They formulated codes and laws that encompasses the whole aspect of their identity. And these laws are written by their god himself and this made their laws inseparable from their god. 

With the destruction of Israel, the Jews were dispersed. They were scattered among the neighboring kingdoms but despite the dispersion, they have kept their identity. They have accomplished this through strict and rigid adherence to their laws and traditions. The Jews also forbade intermarriages. Adultery both religious and interracial marriages are dealt with harshly by banishment and even death. This preserved not only their culture and faith but it also assured the genetic conservation of the race. 

Their identity is inseparable and indistinguishable from their god: their religion is their citizenship.

Then came Jesus. Jesus was a Jew, a Jewish heretic. He professed to be the messiah introduced a new and improved version of Judaism which the old school rejected. he was crucified by the Romans with the instigation of the Jews.

A few hundred years later, Paul discovered Jesus and became the missionary that spread Christianity. Christianity is basically a Judaic religion,hence the idea of exclusivity, though expanded to include non-Jews, is still  at it's core. This exclusivity, like the Jews, assured its survival, But unlike the Jews, the laws and traditions, which was repudiated by the new testament, was too porous, hence pagan (which means non-Christian religions then) slowly seeped into the new religion hence many non-Christian doctrines were assimilated into it. 

The reformation came. 

The reformers broke away from the Roman Church which they deemed was corrupted by pagan and mystic philosophical thoughts. So, the Roman Catholic Church has stopped to be the only vehicle towards salvation. She is not the bride anymore.

The church split and with each split came the idea of exclusivity, with each schism and division, exclusivity becomes narrower and narrower that even among denominations there those who consider their brethren church not pure enough to be included among the elect.

Of course, in the book, John Hicks' discussed the relationships of Christianity with other world religions but it need not go far because within the Christian faith exclusivity is claimed by each denominations, though evangelicalism is a movement that seemed to be moving towards inclusion but in general it still a strict exclusivist because of their doctrine that only Jesus saves.

Exclusivity promotes the idea that the religion or the church one belongs to or born into is the only real church or religion  and this ecclesiocentricism denies the truths or only recognizes partial truths from other religions and treats them as inferior, even enemies. This is analogous to Ptolemy's idea that the earth was the center of the universe. The church becomes the earth in Ptolemaic universe and other faiths or denominations are revolving around that specific church.

The Ptolemaic view of religion, according to John Hicks must give way to the Copernican revolution. Instead of a religion or a church being at the center of the religious universe, it should be theocentric, God should be placed at the center where religions revolves around it.

This solves the a lot of problem from revelation to salvation. 

Anyway, I'm tired. Read the book or wait till I get into the mood and talk about Hick' ideas.

This post sucks.





American coconut, Spanish Hermit and why Digong made me think about foreign policy stuff



I was a young boy when I had my first experience of seeing white Americans. They looked big, huge, tall and they wore ties. While they were walking down our street, I saw many children my age following them, touching them while flashing a "V" sign and shouting  "Victory Joe!" 
Because it looked fun, I too joined in following the pied pipers.  The Americans were smiling and some even threw candies to the children.

This was the late 70's and many World War II veterans were still alive to tell stories of the war and the "liberation". The Americans were the hero and MacArthur was venerated as a national hero and his famous promise "I shall return" had become part of the  everyday Filipino language. 

Look at how small they look at us.
In the 80's, when our family converted to the Southern Baptist denomination and my father became a Baptist pastor our home had frequent American visitors. Baptist missionaries who were planting churches in Rizal often worked with my father doing evangelistic crusades and Bible studies. Back then, I had this experience of awe whenever these missionaries came into house. I admit I felt proud then; I felt important as I saw my neighbors looked in awe at the white foreigners coming in and out of our house. Even up to now there are still neighbors who remember the American missionary Jack Branan, my father's friend, who used to frequent our house.

Americans easily open Filipino doors then, I guess the GI Joes of the war were still revered by the adults of the time who were mostly war veterans and those who were old enough to witness the liberation and the war reparation and reconstruction led by the American soldiers and engineers.

My parents and siblings have developed friendships with these missionaries. They were good Americans and have been great help in providing spiritual, medical, and other help to the Filipinos.

But time has changed. About three decades ago, I had this hundred year old looking neighbor who told me war stories and how his brother died when the Americans liberated Manila from the Japanese. I was amazed by the way he spoke because his Tagalog was interspersed with Spanish words. I found out that one of his parents was a Spaniard and his brother and sister in law, who was also a neighbor, both spoke Spanish too which made them very ancient in my eyes, from the Conquestadores era. 

From the Old Man, I heard a different story. A story so opposite from what I was used to hear that I had difficult time processing it. To him, the Americans were the villains. It was the Americans who dragged the Philippines into the war. World War II was not our war, it was the white men's war. He was quite literate and knowledgeable which was surprising because he looked rugged. Then I realized then, at a young age, that history and stories were not what they were at all. There was always the other side. There were a lot of truths in his words and since then I had read a few works about history and the war, how the Americans colonized us and how they introduced a lot of good things into the country but the cost especially with the introduction of their culture and values and the displacement of our's almost destroyed our cultural identity. Our language reflected this, obviously, we speak neither pure English nor pure Filipino.

Anyway...

The Americans (i.e. the government) must have been dazed and confused by the insolence of President Digong. They must not have imagined that their " little brown monkey brothers" would suddenly snarl and bark at them. The US  is  used to Philippines presidents who automatically aligned their policies to the American's. But here comes Digong who it seems is aligning the with the US mortal enemies, Russia and China. 

Why? I am offering my guesses here. Digong knew that in this South China Sea conflict, the US needs the Philippines more than the Philippines needs the US. 

I remember when Obama visited the Philippines during the Aquino administration, a reporter asked Obama if the US would defend the Philippines once attacked by China and Obama answered in a most obscure and vaguest manner that the US would think about it, all those fancy words amounted to this synopsis. Which is really what the US has been all about when it comes to its mutual defense treaty  with RP. This was the time when Pnoy was fighting off the Chinese incursion by threatening to invoke the automatic reprisal in the RP- US mutual defense treaty. It was embarrassing to see our president almost begging the Americans to send in their ships and ousts the Chinese off Scarborough shoal and out of our Exclusive Economic Zone.

Now things have changed. The Americans have taken for granted the Philippines plea for help and have dillydallied for so long that when they found the Chinese have established themselves in the South china Sea and that their interest is threatened, they sent their armadas to conduct regular right of passage patrol, costly. But the truth hurts for them, the Chinese have already established control. It must be insulting for the Americans to hear high pitched Chinese voices telling them that they are in Chinese territory. 

Where would these ships dock if the Philippines deny them ports. 


Anyway...I'm way over my head here, just getting rid of thoughts here and there.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Why my butt is itching, the story of Ananias and the bishops' mantra...

I admit the often quoted mantra of the Catholic Bishops that “all life is sacred” and Cardinal Tagle’s reminder to the Filipinos about “selective respect for human life” has been tickling my butt for a while. An itching butt, as everybody knows, has to be scratched or else it would not stop, the itch would fester on and on until it torments the mind.

Anyway...

I guess being the repository of the church's doctrines, they have to uphold and defend the church's official stand about the sanctity of life especially today when there's a perception that Filipinos are dying like flies as a result of Duterte's anti-illegal drugs war. 

Thanks to a few biased media, the number has bloated to thousands because almost all killings are attributed to the cops even the riding in tandem shootings (the official tagline of the previous administration) are now considered as extra judicial killings (EJK).

Even the United States is alarmed about the numbers that President Obama has stated that he would discuss with our president the EJK when they meet at the ASEAN Summit. But, as expected, Digong did not like the idea and instead warned Obama that he would be cussed if he ever brought it up to the meeting. Obama was offended so the meeting was cancelled and after an apology from the Philippine Government (not Digong, I think), it was rescheduled at a later date.


Here we go...

Whenever sanctity of life is mentioned, a lot of things start popping up in my head. 

Life is so precious that it should be preserved at all cost and these includes those who have committed heinous crimes. I guess there are those who believe that everyone deserves a second chance; that no sin is unforgivable and that no one has the right to take life even that of the nefariously evil person. Some would even argue that self defense does not justify killing. Kinda extreme pacifism but not everyone shares that belief, including me.

I don't want to sound anti-Christian here but every time the Bible is picked up to support the arguments for the sanctity of life, I have this urge to say, uurgggghh. Honestly, as textbook for the defense of human rights, I gotta say it's the wrong book.

There's this story in Acts 5 about Ananias and Sapphira. The story of a husband and wife who sold their land to give the money as an offering to the church. But Annanias, with Sapphira's knowledge, shortchanged the Lord. The Apostle confronted them both and rebuked them ,and because they lied to God, they were struck dead. Just like that.


Although it was an isolated case, the message is worrying. Why made an example of the couple who, whatever their motivations might be, gave money for the church and hid a portion for themselves, for whatever reasons? Why did that specific act so offend the deity that they were killed instantaneously? Why not drop dead the rapists, plunderers, murderers, the arsonists etc.  

I understand, an example must be made. But the method is disproportionate to the offense. I guess when it comes to financial stuffs, the Deity is quite harsh compared to what happened to Judas, the guy who sold Jesus, who was at least given the choice of taking his own life, or to Peter, the same guy here, who denied Jesus three times and yet was even promoted to apostleship. The precedents are quite confusing and the jurisprudence is not prudent.


I did not pick that story to debunk the Bible. What I'm trying to say here is that sanctity of life is not an absolute Biblical principle judging from Ananias' story and other stories. A person's life is always expendable for a higher good although in this instance two people died for a cause which in today's law and in today's society would not even be considered a crime against any person, or any state, or any church. 

I will not intrude into the thinking of the Deity, but I guess, from the viewpoint of a human bean, sanctity of life and second chances are subjects to the whims of the deity. As Jesus once said : "But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them--bring them here and kill them in front of me." You know this reminds of someone...forget it.

Life sucks for us mere mortals but at least we're doing something.