The Mean Streets of Filipino-Style Society: Quijano de Manila in 2017

First published in the Philippines Graphic, January 16, 2017

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The national artist Nick Joaquin (who goes by the name of Quijano de Manila as a journalist) can be read in several ways: as a master fictionist (having written “May Day Eve” and “The Woman Who Had Two Navels,”) as a critic of nationalist culture (as exemplified in “Culture and History,”) and finally – as a journalist who rolled with thunder and fire whenever he sat down to write his unique reportages that spanned stories of crime, romance and of course, the endless mire of Philippine politics.

To read Quijano de Manila in 2017 is akin to asking: why read him at all? Why reconnect with his brand of journalism, crafted seven decades ago and shaped by the conditions of post-World War 2 Philippines?

Apart from the fact that dahling Nick has captured, in excruciating detail, the endless absurdities of his time, his reportages serve as ripe planes for biopolitical critique – one that allows readers to easily access the segmentation and unique mutations of cultural and political life in “Filipino-style society,” as he would call it.

This year, at Nick Joaquin’s centenary, we dive into the action, violence and intrigues that shook the country in Reportage on Crime: Thirteen Horror Happenings That Hit the Headlines.

A solid volume of crime reportages from 1961-1969, first published in 1977, Reportage on Crime takes the reader into the bruised and erratically beating heart of Philippine society, as unpredictable minds and selfish passions conspire in a malignant number of ways – one horrific crime at a time.

In many ways, Reportage on Crime accentuates and lends coherence to a volatile area in an equally explosive decade in Philippine history. Crime is something that is often discussed in hushed tones, behind closed doors. Quijano de Manila gleefully smashes the reader’s conservative locks and throws the hatches wide open to show everyone who cares to see and know, what the Philippines in the sixties was like – again, in resplendent narration and unequalled detail. For it is one of Quijano de Manila’s greatest talents to recreate and weave the tightly enmeshed lives of his journalistic subjects with startling and often frightening clarity.

It is through QDM’s dedication in capturing the seemingly humdrum and plain details of Filipino life as they relate to crime that his committed writing radiates through the decades. More than a master storyteller, QDM acknowledged and acted upon his responsibility as a social critic.

He wore several hats in the process: a street historian, a journalist faithfully working in his assigned beat and a critic who saw crime not as events in vacuum or “strangeness” cast upon an idealized Filipino nation, but rather, symptoms of widespread and horrific societal issues that involve everyone – not just politicos and movie celebrities whom Filipinos have a strange love-hate relationship with.

Among the 13 tales in Reportage on Crime, three stand out as representatives of QDM’s critical journalism: The House on Zapote Street, The Boy Who Wanted to Become “Society” and A Prevalence of Witches; or the Exorcists – Filipino Style.

The House on Zapote Street is a crowd favorite and likely the most familiar of QDM’s journalism to students and teachers in the country. However, it stands out in this analysis not because of its popularity but because it focused on the extremes of familial repression in the guise of fatherly affections and “keeping the family together.”

The antagonist, Pablo Cabading, personified the unstable, rippling swell of the Filipino patriarch. Obsessed with no one but himself, Cabading used his family as pawns to his satisfy his endless fancies. Every single day, he holds his entire family hostage – they must listen to his words, for his words are gospel. His narcissism also forced his wife and Lydia, and later on Lydia’s husband Dr. Leonardo Quitangon, to bow to his hallucinatory demands as if they were ordained by God himself.

QDM’s development of this reportage focused on the slow decay of the Cabading family and its final smashing when Leonardo wedded Lydia. Smashed beyond recognition and with rays of hope finally streaming in, Pablo Cabading resorted to threats and even imprisoning Lydia in their house in Zapote Street. Narcissism at such depraved heights can find no sufficient vessel to serve as its permanent home. Since narcissism thrives with a servile audience, Pablo Cabading chose the only ‘acceptable’ path in his final jealous rage: death to the entire family, no less.

The Boy Who Wanted to Become “Society” is a wild jaunt on the wild side of Filipino middle class society. Napoleon Nocedal, alias Boy Nap, is the subject of QDM’s analysis. QDM traced Boy Nap’s evolution from an unremarkable, poor boy to a remarkably violent thug who did everything to remain in a gang littered with wealthy buddies. Brought up poor and scant of all material things, Boy Nap did not have the financial and cultural capital necessary to integrate seamlessly with the middle class crowd. Cunning and adaptive, he resorted to the only forms of capital he had: his brawns and an unyielding loyalty to the “top dogs” of the gang.

After gunning down a man, Boy Nap flees and is eventually caught at Orion. The realities of poverty and class caught up with him faster than he built himself up as a new ‘society boy’ who rolled with the “it” group of the neighborhood.

QDM’s sustained crescendo up to the point of Boy Nap’s sudden incarceration reveals the text’s close reading of middle class corruption at the micro level that no amount of money or political clout can cure or clear. More than anything, Boy Nap was victimized by the glittering promise of ‘friendship’ that was nothing more than a vaguely constructed illusion meant to keep him interested – because he followed his ‘friends’’ orders without question.

A Prevalence of Witches; or the Exorcists – Filipino Style brings out QDM’s fictionist prowess as he scores and carves away at the bark of various mythologies to create a meta-narrative for the horrifying events that took place in Mr. & Mrs. Situn’s house in San Andres Bukid.

QDM’s vibrant transliterations (e.g. “asuang,” “oraciones” and “cafre”) lend the text a unique Filipino feel that tugs happily at the local literary palate.  For what is a journalist to do when the story revolves around a father and mother who think they are being chased by asuangs and so they proceed to kill their children out of fear of being mangled by the mythic creatures? In the face of a world turned upside down, QDM resorts to an analysis of the family’s death drive through a study of the father’s life as the son of an unchallenged and well-respected herbolario. QDM’s psychoanalysis revitalizes the reportage’s structure and subsumes the events that led to the murders as logical effects of a lifetime of unfettered superstition.

Truly, Quijano de Manila’s Reportage on Crime is the old-new book of crime that reminds every Filipino that the sixties, seventies and eighties are merely artifices of convenience. The beasts that dwell in the hearts and minds of man reverberate through time and space to bend the will of those eager enough to dance with death one last time.

promdi sa up

(Filipino text)

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may nabasa akong istatus kanina sa peysbuk tungkol sa mga tiga-mindanao at visayas na minamata raw ng ilang mga tiga-maynila.

kesyo raw…

– sila ang nagpapasikip sa maynila.
– di daw sila magaling.
– at kung anu-ano pa.

di ko na babanggitin ang eskwelang involved, pero sige na nga, sa la salle daw. ewan ko lang kung aling la salle at maraming la salle.

di ako tiga-la salle kaya wala akong alam sa kultura nito. ilang tao lang din ang kilala kong gradweyt dito at mabubuting tao sila kaya talagang hindi pwedeng mag-operate mula sa punto de bista ng isang outsider.

parallel reading na lamang ating gawin, base sa personal na karanasan ko.

iku-kwento ko na lang ang mga karanasan ko bilang promdi sa UP.

simula tayo sa umpisa. ang UP taon-taon ay sinisikap na maabot kahit papaano ang mga tiga-probinsya sa taunang UPCAT.

ito ang unang kontak ng mga isko at iska sa institusyong ito. at mula rito’y malalaman mong may mga pagdadaanan ka nang kakaiba. mahirap ang UPCAT, eh. ako nahirapan ako. in fact bagsak ang geometry at maths ko sa UPCAT.

unang araw ko sa UP, sa sobrang nerbyos ko pumasok ako isang oras bago ang aking unang klase, sa ilalim ni Prop. Naida Rivera.

wala akong alam – as in wala. ni hindi nga ako sigurado kung paano latag ng kursong ipinasa ko sa UPCAT.

may tinanong si Prop. Rivera, alam ko ang sagot. tumayo ako. nagpaliwanag. naupo ulit.

medyo natigilan ang klase, may ilang tumawa sa likod.

bago matapos ang klase, tahimik na nagpaliwanag si Prop. Rivera:

“the students of UP in the fifties fought for the right NOT to stand up in class when answering professors. as such, i do not require any of you to stand up when answering questions.”

syempre hanggang tanghalian medyo namumula tenga ko.

isa-isa kong nakilala ang mga kasama ko sa programa. karamihan, tulad ng inaasahan, galing sa gitnang uri at galing sa iba’t ibang lugar: Davao, Laguna, atbp. ako naman ay galing sa Cabanatuan, sa Nueva Ecija. para kaming mga buto mula sa iba’t ibang lupalop ng Pilipinas na isinabog sa UP.

isang kulumpon kami na iba-iba ang punto tuwing nagsasalita, iba-iba ang kinalakihan, iba-iba rin ang estado sa buhay. minsan may mga bagay silang sinasabi na di ko agad nauunawaan, at ganoon rin sila sakin. tulungan lang kami, hanggang sa graduation. (nahuli pa ako gumradweyt!)

bisaya? marami akong kasama sa programa na bisaya. alam mong bisaya ang kausap mo kasi hirap minsan sa Filipino, pero maganda karamihan mag-ingles. bukod doon, HINDI MO MALALAMAN na sila’y tiga-visayas o mindanao.

malamang e bibigwasan ko rin

ang magsasabing promdi ako

dahil sa aking sinasabi.

what the hell is that supposed to mean?

nagkasundo ba kaming lahat? bilang isa sa tatlong lalaki lamang sa programa, masasabi kong hindi ako namata ni minsan. hindi rin naging isyu ang pagiging promdi ko. nakakatuwa pa nga at tuwing uuwi ako sa probinsya, sasabihin pa nila: uy, ingat ka ha! kasi alam nilang sa malayo pa ako uuwi. madalas din, naikukwento nila ang kanilang mga buhay-buhay sa probinsya.

ang buhay sa probinsya ng gitnang uri ay hindi nakaugat sa kalabaw o magagandang tanawin. nakaugat ito sa kakapusan ng pera, sa pag-aaway sa loob ng pamilya, sa pagpupursiging matapos ang nasimulang kurso.

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Ang aking mahal na kolehiyo. Di mabilang na stick ng sigarilyo ang tinambutso ko rito, kasama ang mga barkada at katoto na walang katulad – sila amang Jun Cruz Reyes, Bomen Guillermo, atbp. Napakarami kong natutunan sa tambay sa UP. Marami rin akong nakaing sisig sa KATAG na nagiisang eatery na malapit sa CAL. Di naman ako mahilig sa kape kaya di ko rin gaano tinatambayan yung cafe na malapit dito. Isa pang paborito kong tambayan (di ko alam kung naroon pa) ay yung mga maliliit na tindahan sa harap ng Palma Hall. Dati doon pa ako nakaka-iskor ng Winston Lights. Tapos C2 litro at siomai. Dadalhin ko ang C2 at siomai sa klase at aamoy sa klase ang bawang. Ayun. Gutom lahat ng tao.

sa apat at kalahating taon na inilagi ko sa UP, napakaraming uri ng tao ang aking nakasalimuha. ang isa sa mga kaibigan ko noon ay nagsimulang straight, tapos naging lesbian, tapos naging confused, bago nagsettle na lesbian talaga. naalala ko pa noon na kakain ako sa Katag, isang canteen sa College of Arts & Letters (CAL).

pinakilala niya sa akin ang isang skinhead na dalaga.

“marius! asawa ko. my wife!”

syempre ako bilang promdi, nagulat. nangiti ako at kinamayan ang asawa ng aking kaibigan. ok sa alright. no problem. e ano naman kung asawa nga niya yun? wag lang sigurong sabihin na asawa niya isang bangkito o isang backpack. baka umangal na ako ng kaunti.

kung sa diskriminasyon, mayroon din naman.

pero hindi dahil ako’y promdi, ngunit dahil ako’y galing sa humanidades (humanities).

tandang-tanda ko pa noong ako’y nasa 2nd semester ng first year. kumuha ako ng biology class. sa unang meeting ng aming propesor, ang sabi niya:

“lahat ng humanities at non-science, please sit at the back. lahat ng engineering at science, please sit at the front.”

walang kaabog-abog, walang paliwanag. e di lumipat ako sa likod, kasama ng iba’ng hindi galing sa sciences. magkakasama sa harap ang mga engineering, biology major, physics major, economics.

mula noon ay hindi ko na gaanong pinansin ang propesor na kumikislap ang mga mata tuwing malalaman na tiga-engineering ang kanyang kausap.

di ko kailangan mga katulad niyang may sayad.

Venuses of the Masses

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A recent, memorable non-fiction piece that I’ve read, written by a Filipino, is Joel Pablo Salud’s “A Venusian Tale.” This essay is part of the Blood Republic non-fiction collection.

It talks about the author’s short stint as a “creative manager” for a swanky Malate bar. I’ve written elsewhere that “A Venusian Tale” had a steady pulse that I found refreshing and intriguing at the same time, because the journo explored prostitution in Malate in a way that defeats common ‘outsider’ attempts to make sense of how it works.

Prostitution is often explored in as nothing but defilement, as if in the process of uncovering the underground economy of warm bodies, the spectator also becomes a merciless judge of humanity and morality – and the women involved are turned into helpless commodities.

We can see this process of unwitting dehumanization when prostitution dens are ‘busted’ on TV.

The maceration of womanity plays out easily enough, usually at dinnertime when everyone’s eating and hankering for the day’s news from any of the TV networks.

A footage rolls of a camera zooming in on the dark entrance of a bar/hotel/house. Then come the red flashing lights – signaling the onslaught of police forces.

Sometimes, random pistol shots will ring out. These are called ‘warning shots.’ The scene darkens and resumes in harsh fluorescent light. Women of various ages and builds are herded into police trucks like cattle. Some are even in some stage of undress – the police don’t care.

The women cover their heads in shame, fear or sheer terror.

The final scene adds the necessary element of guilt, one that people love watching. A reporter saunters close and asks one of the women: “what were you doing in there?” The woman will answer “I don’t know anything” or “I’m just a waitress.”

These women are now subjects of the state. They are also immediately held hostage by popular perception. You see, imprisonment has many forms. Iron bars are just one of the many ways that a person can be incarcerated.

They are now part of the Philippine zarzuela that is occupied by both “good guys” and “bad guys.” These women are the unspeakable ones – women who have gone over to the ‘other side,’ the irredeemable side, the side where humanity is exchanged for cash.

Salud’s “A Venusian Tale” tells a strikingly different story.

For one, the accomplices and operators are clearly outlined. Abstracted society disappears from view. The portrait of the immoral streetwalker is replaced with an image of a tired woman who cannot wait for the day to end.

Endings are beginnings. What the night ends is the struggle for material survival. Daylight reconciles the women, the streetwalkers, with the other struggles of life – parts of their lives that we know nothing about.

The cover of darkness provides the enticement to participate in alcohol binges and partake of the warm touch of a willing woman. Desire, longing and lust are rolled into a convenient transactional activity with no strings attached and no awkward calls the morning after.

Near the end of “A Venusian Tale,” the author comes into contact with one of the sex workers – a lovely lady by the name of Venus. Venus helps the author one night, when customers weren’t streaming in as they used to and the bar where the author is an undercover journalist was at risk of losing money.

Nothing in the text suggests that Venus is anything but a woman who, by chance or circumstance, works in the clandestine corners of society, sought out by the ‘respectable’ middle class locals and moneyed foreigners.

This is not to say that the fabric of her being does not buckle under the weight of her work’s hefty toll:

“During those rare occasions when she needed to squeeze out the little of what had remained of her faith in God, Venus would visit the Baclaran Church in the wee hours. She did this to avoid being seen by those she knew.” (Salud, Joel Pablo “A Venusian Tale” The Blood Republic, Makati: The Philippines Graphic Publications, Inc. 2013 p. 21)

Anonymity is a streetwalker’s shelter from pockets of moralistic rain and the harsher and more insidious hurricane of the state’s brutality. In the end, Venus, like so many others, remains in the shadows and fringes of society so that she can be left in peace.

Let the Venuses of the masses speak.

Teaching Theory pt. 1

Teaching Theory

How can theory be taught? The purpose of this exposition/critique is not espouse a singular method of teaching critical theory (in the social sciences/ arts/ humanities) but to examine the visible strains of thought that emanates from most of these disciplines. With the exemption of the life sciences and some exclusivist schools from the social sciences, the sociology of culture, literature, art, etc. can be better understood with the most basic intellectual traditions available for consumption on the level of the academia. In the Philippines, the problem is not comprehension (is there comprehension?) but the mode of teaching. While erstwhile academics in the west like Homi Bhaba and Gayatri Spivak have acknowledged the so-called emancipating role of critical theory (I’m not sure if we’re talking about the specific constellation of concepts) in thought and practice, academics in the Philippines have yet to arrive at the point where theory can readily be used and appropriated for the purpose of critical pedagogy, and not just teaching. A distinction has to be made here; in the context of so-called traditional “modern” teaching in the Philippines, a neo-Aristotlean and colonial model of teaching is employed. If one were to fondly remember the concise description of Freire in his work on the Pedagogy of the Oppressed, we would come to realize that the Philippines is not only a repressed and oppressed country ideologically and economically, but the Philippines is also suffering from a retrograde educational system espoused by equally retrograde institutions using antiquated methods that are unable and would never be usable for the purpose of examining and criticizing the current world order.

World order seems to be too big a word; the apologists of the formalist, neo-Aristotlean and therefore neocolonial methods of teaching would say that a blank page would need inscription. But how can a page be blank if the person has already enrolled himself with money borne from hard labour? For the upper classes in the modern, neocolonial Philippine society, the blankness stems not from the lack of reading materials but from the generic avoidance of such. The rich, due to their material wealth, no longer needs to be emancipated because they already have their comfortable niches in the present economic order. But this cannot be said for the millions of the other Filipinos in the country. From this point alone we can see the large contradiction or gap between the interest of the educational institutions (privately owned or state-owned, it does not matter) and 95% of the population of the country. From an objective point of view, only two ways out can be seen: either you reform the institutions (it is not in their interest to be altered!) or destroy them. Or, as the popular song goes, they should be killed softly with a song. And the song is critical theory. Or rather, critical theory is but one note- a melodic spark that would hopefully encourage an intellectual conflagration to burn off the wicked weeds of the educational system. If Nietzschean politics is fascist, then it’s time to do an uberman and destroy the aristocratic educational system that serves education a la carte, with a hefty price tag for soured goods.

Reading, unlearning and the rejection of colonial ideological principles

There should be a clarification, a direct clarification regarding the role of reading in a person’s life. Reading is not merely pleasure (if it were, let’s go back to the Florentine merchant era where a few families were the only ones who had access to art) but rather, a tool to free yourself. The presupposition that it is a tool for liberation also presupposes that there is something to be freed from. And as we have made mention earlier, the thing that must be purged is the old neocolonial model of teaching which is parading itself repeatedly in classrooms across the country. The first step in the destruction of the old neocolonial model of teaching is the recognition that the very commodities used by the educational system are repressive (stupid) and obsolete. Even the teaching of language, which is still being done in such a horrendous manner is so damaging that children who already have a rich Filipino vocabulary end up understanding less of the language than before they came into the classroom. The teachers themselves must recognize that what they mentors had taught them are not the best methods for teaching. It doesn’t matter that you used old textbooks written by Americans or Britons. The point here is that whatever they’ve learned from the colleges of Education around the country are not sufficient to instruct, not at all. Which accounts for the fact that many students, after graduating from primary school and high school, don’t remember jack about what they’ve been wasting their time on the past 10 years of their life. It is an unjust social contract between the institution and the agents.

There is no need for senseless self-pity here. Since the problem has already been recognized, the next step is in order. After the recognition that the faulty model is in place, the second most important step is the unlearning, which may be the most difficult step of all. Learning is one thing; if it means imitation like parrots. Unlearning means letting go of all your cherished beliefs and that can drive a person mad, especially if after the unlearning there is absolutely nothing to replace what has been unlearned. This perhaps is the reason why extremely religious individuals find it difficult to cope after the historicity of religion has been revealed and examined closely; there’s nothing to replace the lost belief. Since education also forms a large part of a person’s habitus or socialization, there is also a need to question the ideologies operating alongside the teaching methods. For example, the simple belief that males are good at numbers while women are good in language is a destructive belief, because it necessitates favoring one group of persons over another for the mere purpose of living out some belief. Instead, what should replace such a belief is a goal; that both males and females be adequately capable of numbers and language to produce a well-rounded person competent in the two different skill groups. Specialization can only be useful if a person is indeed already knowledgeable of the larger groups of knowledge. But if you trap a person to believing that he or she can be good in only one particular set of skills, then that person would probably end up pursuing only that group of skills for the simple reason that it was what she or he had been made to believe by the teacher.

Torrent, Edukasyon at ang Neoliberalismong Pumupuksa Rito

Nitong mga nakakaraang mga araw ay mas naging interisado ako sa pag-iipon ng mga librong pinamimigay ng mga tao sa Internet. Tulad ng maraming iskolar sa mahirap na bansa, masaya ako at may ilang mga taong pagpapaguran pa ang pagu-upload ng mga materyales na ito sa Internet. Bukod sa mga restriksyon na malamang ay ginagawan pa ng paraan ng marami sa mga ito (lalo na yung mga nanggaling sa Britanya, Estados Unidos at iba pang mga lugar sa mundo na malakas ang mga batas sa copyright at anti-piracy) ay isang uri rin ng pag-ibig ang ibinibigay ng mga taong ito. Pag-ibig sa kaalaman at kritikal na pag-iisip, na humuhubog sa mga indibidwal, upang maging handa sila sa kolektibong aksyon. Mula sa watak-watak at industriyalisadong mga nasyon ang mga taong nagpapalaganap ng mga libreng libro sa Internet. Madalas, may mga sulat pa ang mga taong nag-rip, nag-transcribe o nangopya ng mga materyales. Luma na ang iba, may mga galing pa noong taong 1992. Ang mensahe madalas ng taong ito?

Libre dapat ang kaalaman.

May kaibigan akong propesor sa Unibersidad, siya ang katangi-tanging Pilipino na nag-aral ng kanyang post-doctoral sa Max Planck Institute sa Alemanya. Ang taong ito, buong buhay ay ginugol sa pag-aaral, at sakop ng kanyang kaalaman hindi lamang ang simpleng pisika at kemika, ngunit malalawak at komplikadong mga larangan pa sa geophysics, at iba pa. Sa dami ng karanasan ng tao na ito, ay napagtanto rin niya ang isang bagay, sa gitna ng kanyang pagtuturo sa Estados Unidos, Australya at sa iba pang mga industriyalisadong bansa: libre dapat ang pag-aaral, at higit sa lahat, libre dapat ang kaalaman.

Bilang isang miyembro ng isang bansang nagpapakita ng galit o kung hindi naman ay malalang pag-iwas sa karunungang mapagpalaya, masasabing malayo pa ang ilang adhikain ng mga progresibo, tulad ng libre o tunay na murang pag-aaral, atbp. Ngunit hindi ito dahilan upang abandonahin ang mga adhikain. Hindi purkit mahirap ay imposible. Dapat nating tandaan na ang mga simpleng aktibidades ngayon, tulad ng pagboto ay tila imposible noong unang panahon. Ang pagtatrabaho at pag-unlad ng kaisipan ng kababaihan ay parang imposible rin noon dahil sa dominasyon ng mga patriyarkal na institusyon, ngunit ngayon ay nagagawan na ng paraan upang hindi na ito mangyari ulit. May boses na ang kababaihang progresibong aktibong nakakisama sa mga kilusang naglalayong basagin ang katahimikan ng konformismo at pasibong pagsunod sa tradisyong baog sa karunungan at pagpapahalaga sa tao.

Ang doktrina ng neoliberalismo ang pangunahing dahilan kung bakit naging malala ang pagiging bulok ng sistemang edukasyon sa Pilipinas. Simple lang naman ang dahilan kung bakit lason ang neoliberalismo sa anumang bansa, lalung-lalo na sa mga bansang walang industriya: dahil walang pagpapahalaga sa kolektibong epekto ng libreng edukasyon, kanya-kanya ang mga tao sa paghahanap ng ganansya. Sa huli, nagiging mga alipin lamang ng mga kumpanyang matagal nang humihita sa bansa ang mga gradweyt ng kolehiyo. Kung hindi naman ay nagsisilipad ang marami, para buhayin ang sarli, ang pamilya at ang pangarap na magkapera ng marami. Ngunit kung susuriin natin ng maigi, kung babasagin lamang natin ang neoliberal na mga patakaran sa edukasyon at sa mga pampublikong serbisyo ay hindi na kailangang umalis pa ng mga propesyunal, tulad ng mga mananaliksik sa siyensya, mga gurong mahuhusay sa kanilang ginagawa at maging ang mga nars na tunay namang buto ng lahat ng institusyong medikal. Kailangang tulungan ang sarili, ngunit mas maigi kung tulungan natin ang isa’t isa- at magagawa ito kung tutulungan natin ang bansa.

Bakit ang Brazil ay nakakaranas ng kasaganahan sa gitna ng recession? Simple lang din ang sagot dito- dahil sa regulasyon ng komersyo at industriya at dahil sa libreng pag-aaral. Bahala na kayong magconnect the dots sa puntong ito.

Trans(nation): Global Migration and the Filipino Diaspora

Published in March 2009 issue of Playboy-Philippines

Trans(nation):

Global Migration and the Filipino Diaspora

Marius D. Carlos Jr.

Immigration, in other words, has had its own contradictions: many have been propelled by need, others motivated by ambition, yet others driven away by persecution; for some, there really is no longer a home to return to, in many cases, need and ambition have become ambiguously and inextricably linked.

Aijaz Ahmad

Global migration may be the clearest sign of world poverty today. According to William Robinson, a sociologist from the University of California-Santa Barbara, the world is now polarized into the ratio of 80-20. Eighty percent of the world’s population is living on the world poverty line (subsiding on $2 or less a day), while only twenty percent are living comfortably with much higher incomes. To add to this continuing turmoil, which had been happening even before the Second World War, the largest industrial countries in the world are now experiencing economic downturns. The United States of America, which is viewed as the “land of opportunity” by millions of Filipinos, is experiencing an unemployment rate of more than 6%. Local and international news wires around the globe report massive layoffs, the closing of factories and the collapse of big businesses. The price of oil is steadily dipping owing to the slowing demand for world oil- because even national middle classes are feeling the heat. Either way, these signs point to global downturn where the poorest become even poorer.

Cruel reversals

In the Philippines, migrant workers come in a myriad of official names. OCWs (overseas contract wokers), OFWs (overseas Filipino workers) and Bagong Bayani (Modern-Day Heroes). The Philippine government regularly pays tribute to migrant workers through television infomercials, flyers and posters declaring its allegiance to the individuals who help stabilize the peso-dollar exchange through foreign remittances. Telecommunication companies ceaselessly advertise on popular television shows, offering remittance systems, cheap SMS services, satellite phones and cheap calls abroad. The image of the proud migrant Filipino is shamelessly bannered across different media. The stories of suffering and unceasing hardship remain untold. The image is substituted for the real thing; and we remain deluged with a million renditions of the same false picture.

It is ironic that often, popular media plays up “life abroad” as a joyful rendezvous with snow, foreign food and dollars. Glimpses of hardship are used by politicians to create a niche for themselves in the coming elections. It is as if the plight of migrant Filipino workers are now in the giving hands of millionaire politicians who make it appear that they have no interest other than to help fellow Filipinos. In the end, the problem remains. Alms have no business in trying to resolve a problem that is rooted in economic relations among people. That is exactly what Filipinos are being asked to be supportive of. The much-maligned concept of charity is put in place of progressive reforms against social ills. In the end, we are led to believe that supporting the charity projects of million-peso corporations will do much good. Reality television adds a blip in the blinding collection of false promises. To gain the support of television viewers, participants of reality television shows produced by multinational media companies like Endemol are asked to “be one of the masses” and to “help the children”. The sad faces on television only hint at the hardship of families of migrant workers. These families have been fragmented, and often, separation, drug addiction and social apathy become clear consequences of the fragmentation of the nuclear Filipino family.

Exodus to the Middle East

The old concept of imperialism is no longer applicable today. Instead, a more sinister structure (economic, political and military in nature) had developed to compensate for the bourgeoning trade routes that had developed after embargos post-WW2 have been lifted. In the United Kingdom, the Thatcherite administration had declared war on the welfare state with the T.I.N.A (There Is No Alternative) and the Third Way. In the United States, the cult of multiculturalism and neoliberal foreign policies (which implicates the G-8, the World Trade Organization and the World Bank) had grained ground. Political commentators like the French political anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu had been quick to denounce the ills of the Free Market system and the global financial system, which is now a supra-national entity. In France, the ideological and economic doctrine of Pensee Unique, which takes away the veils of Moslem women who wish to be naturalized also takes away the power of collective structures, such as worker’s unions. The impeccable logic of late capitalism had rendered man incapable of helping himself through hunger and strife.

In weak, fragmented and poor nation-states such as the Philippines, the symptom had begun, as we have stated earlier with political glosses like The Global Filipino or Bagong Bayani. The Philippine National Bank even has a separate counter for “Foreign Remittances/Dollar Accounts”. This might spell relief for relatives in the Philippines, who quickly grab and go (to where, nobody knows, but Duty Free Philippines certainly made a killing last Christmas). But what does this mean? Popular television shows on primetime often contain heavily edited interviews of migrant Filipino workers. It appears that they are having a grand time abroad, scrubbing the toilet bowls of foreigners, so that their children can buy shoes at home. These shoes on the other hand, have been produced in poorer Third World countries for Nike. The dollars that migrant workers have worked so hard for are simply returned to the First World through the Free Market system. And the children are smiling, happily tearing through the plastic and boxes of the new shoes and dresses that they’ve been able to buy with “green money”.

A. Sivanadan, a critic for the journal Race and Class identified more than twenty years ago the massive shift from import-substitution to export-oriented industrialization. The various interweaving patterns of national labor migrations (which spans the Philippines to Latin America to China) is affected greatly by this shift to export-oriented trade. Export-oriented industrialization, which had given birth to global crises such as peak oil production is what drove millions of Filipinos to the Middle East. In a literal “quest for bread”, millions of Filipinos flew to Middle Eastern countries, distributed and segregated, based on their qualifications (high school graduate, college graduate, semi-skilled, skilled). Many ended up being underemployed, doing menial tasks for wealthy employers, while swallowing the fact that they had finished degrees back at home. Years later, the discourse of Bagong Bayani would still serve to undermine the reality of labor migration. Presidency after presidency would take the mantle of Bagong Bayani and give it another whirl, prolonging the agony of millions of migrant workers who had only been forced by circumstance to leave their families.

It is estimated that more than 10 million Filipinos are working abroad. According to Epifanio San Juan, a Harvard-trained cultural critic, “Malubhang eskandalo ito, na tila walang nakakapansin” (“This is a huge scandal, which no one seems to be noticing.”) This is the global diaspora of Filipinos. Diaspora, a neologism of Greek origin (“to spread/to scatter”) is the singular term that capture the world-historic moment of the disintegration of whole national communities. In the wake of “counter-terrorism” and the new faith in the presidency of Barack Obama, many are crossing their fingers that the whole thing would turn around for the better. Unfortunately, Obama had arrived too late in the scene, if he is truly sincere with his promises of “change that we need”. Already, the United States is no longer the biggest lender in the global landscape. It is, however, the biggest spender. The ironic (yet fitting) term of military Keynesianism has put the United States at a precarious position among the other world powers. Already, it has allotted and spent billions of dollars on military power- covert operations, paramilitary operations, the war in Iraq, etc. Thousands of nuclear warheads stand ready in hidden bases around the US. Each nuclear warhead, if spent on agriculture or on welfare services, could have fed thousands of people a month. And yet, this artificial paranoia, “justified” by the events of September 11 is being used to gain more and more economic and military power in strategic regions in the world. Let it be said that the owner of the last trillion barrels of oil will be the wealthiest country in the world.

Modern slavery

Students of college history are often taught that “world history” is split into the following historical periods: ancient (as in “ancient Greece” and “ancient Rome”), the middle ages (where bad translations of Dante Alighieri’s Inferno is studied), renaissance (virtually nothing is understood of this time period). After the renaissance, centuries are skipped, until the student is suddenly faced with the “modern times”. An examination of college history books (including classics like Zaide’s) would reveal that the chatter about “history” stops at the exact moment that would matter to all Filipinos- modernity. With this in mind, we can sadly conclude that whole archives, from the chronicles of Carlos Bulosan to the wisdom of poets such as Tato Laviera, have been completely obliterated. The true dialectic of “world” history, including the events that had affected our own country has been removed. What we are left with are unusable “husks” or dead and freeze-dried pieces of trivial information, fit for afternoon game shows. This is when “history” is killed repeatedly by textbook writers. One consequence is the gravest of them all- selective amnesia. We have learned to selectively forget what matters most.

We have learned to forget what migration really is, or what it has already been years before the youngest generation had been born. Epifanio San Juan Jr., in his study of modernity and the modern exclusionary practices of nation-states, states clearly:

“Since the nineties, the average total of migrant workers has been about a million a year—close to three thousand every day—bound for 129 countries. They remit an amount totaling over 5 percent of the Gross National Product; in the process, millions of pesos are collected by the Philippine government through innumerable taxes and fees for passports and other documents.”

San Juan continues to examine the statistics laid out by Migrante International, and the figure of the Bagong Bayani:

“Migrante International and other organizations have investigated the horrendous conditions of work, the racist abuses and humiliating deprivations, they suffer every day. But they continue to fly overseas, undeterred by the future of overwhelming debt, mental derangement, physical injuries, rape, and violent death. Hence these Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) are glorified as “modern heroes, ” mga bagong bayani (the “new heroes, ” in the words of former president Corazon Aquino), the most famous of whom are Flor Contemplacion, who was falsely accused of two murders and hanged in Singapore; and Sarah Balabagan, flogged in Saudi Arabia for defending herself against her rapist-employer, and deported. Were their fates the signs, or stigmata, of a portentous heroism?” (in Working Through the Contradictions, p. 260)

San Juan had just reminded us of the two infamous cases related to immigration in the nineties- Flor Contemplacion and Sarah Balabagan. There was a two-fold reaction to the headlines of the day (back then): outcries from the progressive (yet largely unsupported) groups like Gabriela and Migrante and movies that depicted the life of the two women. In both instances, the government had been mute, completely mute in addressing the problems posed by inequities in juridical systems abroad. The inability of the government to speak when necessary, and to act when most needed is a dire sign that we are required to expect nothing from the national government but slogans and taxes. In a nutshell, we are to subside on streamers stating “Pilipinas Kong Mahal!” and “May Silbi, Works Well, MMDA Labs You”. The hopelessness of the situation of the migrant workers is perhaps further satirized by balikbayans in a popular noontime variety program, who do nothing but praise the “goodness” of the host toward “the poor”. In reality, the poor are paraded and asked to sing and dance for alms. In return for the popularity of the show, millions of pesos are exchanged for a few hours a day for a transient fantasy that ends as quickly as it begins.

Characteristic of the “age of migration” is the camouflaging of the real relationships between migrant workers vis-à-vis foreign employers and host countries. While there are some instances that migrant workers are not starved or raped, there are many documented cases where host countries strike down harder on migrant workers than guilty natives. In a world completely flabbergasted and rendered anxious by the “atrocities” of “Islamic terrorists”, the real terrorism is ignored. The question of who has the more resources or capital is rendered operational on all levels of legal existence. “Justice” is only an informal category retained for the purpose of qualifying or discounting points of discussion on national broadsheets. Social justice, aimed at addressing individual inequities among social subjects has already been abandoned. Even in Europe, in France, where they cannot stop talking about “Man” (but cannot stop oppressing its workers), the figure of the French worker is being erased to be replaced with the figure of “the foreigner”: the migrant worker. This is the surreal and violent reality that Filipino migrants have to face when they fly to Fortress Europe in search for a few Euros.

Dos Kapital?

In a debate between the prophet of neoliberalism, Thomas Friedman (author of The World is Flat) and the combative French journalist Ignacio Ramonet (journalist for Le Monde Diplomatique and founder of ATTAC), Thomas Friedman declared the death of the German philosopher and political economist Karl Marx’s analysis of modern industrial society. He titles his own reformulation of economics “Dos Kapital”, a play on the title of Marx’s treatise on political economy Das Kapital. Friedman states:

“Unlike the Cold War system, globalization has its own dominant culture, which is why integration tends to be homogenizing. In previous eras, cultural homogenization happened on a regional scale – the Romanization of Western Europe and the Mediterranean world, the Islamization of Central Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Spain by the Arabs, or the Russification of Eastern and Central Europe, and parts of Eurasia, under the Soviets. Culturally speaking, globalization is largely the spread (for better and for worse) of Americanization from Big Macs and iMacs to Mickey Mouse.”

“Whereas the defining measurement of the Cold War was weight, particularly the throw-weight of missiles, the defining measurement of the globalization system is speed the speed of commerce, travel, communication, and innovation. The Cold War was about Einstein’s mass-energy equation, e = m[c.sup.2]. Globalization is about Moore’s Law, which states that the performance power of microprocessors will double every 18 months. The defining document of the Cold War system was “the treaty.” The defining document of the globalization system is “the deal.”” (in Dueling Globalizations, Foreign Policy Press)

It should be noted immediately that Friedman is actually espousing globalization, the same way the World Bank is doing it. Friedman is unable to see the world beyond the blinding presence of neon lights advertising the largest brands in the world. In Friedman’s mind, productivity is still productivity regardless of whether the proponents of the productivity are eating three times a day or not. Friedman continues to enumerate the various “innovations” of the new world system, including the “social mobility” of the Individual as opposed to the “walls” of the old nation-state systems. Friedman is simply thanking the world because he has a nice niche in the Market, and he can eat Big Macs anytime.

Ignacio Ramonet was quick to counter Friedman’s arguments:

We have known for at least ten years that globalization is the dominant phenomenon of this century. No one has been waiting around for Thomas Friedman to discover this fact. Since the end of the 1980s, dozens of authors have identified, described, and analyzed globalization inside and out. What is new in Friedman’s work and debatable – is the dichotomy he establishes between globalization and the Cold War: He presents them as opposing, interchangeable “systems.” His constant repetition of this gross oversimplification reaches the height of annoyance.

Furthermore, our author appears incapable of observing that globalization imposes the force of two powerful and contradictory dynamics on the world: fusion and fission. On the one hand, many states seek out alliances. They pursue fusion with others to build institutions, especially economic ones, that provide strength – or safety – in numbers. Like the European Union, groups of countries in Asia, Eastern Europe, North Africa, North America, and South America are signing free-trade agreements and reducing tariff barriers to stimulate commerce, as well as reinforcing political and security alliances.

The political consequences have been ghastly. Almost everywhere, the fractures provoked by globalization have reopened old wounds. Borders are increasingly contested, and pockets of minorities give rise to dreams of annexation, secession, and ethnic cleansing. In the Balkans and the Caucasus, these tensions unleashed wars (in Abkhazia, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Moldova, Nagorno-Karabakh, Slovenia, and South Ossetia).

The social consequences have been no kinder. In the 1980s, accelerating globalization went hand in hand with the relentless ultraliberalism of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher and U.S. president Ronald Reagan. Quickly, globalization became associated with increased inequality, hikes in unemployment, deindustrialization, and deteriorated public services and goods.

It is clear from Ramonet’s arguments that the premise of the first author had been completely misguided- because social criticism requires another level of analysis- the degree and effectiveness of social distribution. This has been around for the longest time- and is visible in works by Joseph Schumpeter, who discusses the relationship between democracy and the current world order. This point of discussion is relevant to the “age of migration” because the “age of migration” would have never gathered force if not for the eternal “quest for bread”. It is with these specific features of our current epoch that we shall begin to understand anew our real positions in relation to other nation-states in the world.

Popular na Kultura at Sekswalidad: Anatomiya ng Iskizofrenia

Popular na Kultura at Sekswalidad: Anatomiya ng Iskizofrenia

1. Schizophrenia (Iskizofrenia) : a psychotic disorder characterized by loss of contact with the environment, by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life, and by disintegration of personality expressed as disorder of feeling, thought (as delusions), perception (as hallucinations), and behavior.

2. Sexuality (Sekswalidad) : the quality or state of being sexual: a: the condition of having sex b: sexual activity c: expression of sexual receptivity or interest especially when excessive (mula sa Merriam-Webster dictionary)

Hindi kaila sa marami na ang dominanteng mga diskurso sa sekswalidad sa Pilipinas ay may katangiang iskizofreniko. Ibig sabihin, ang mga diskursong ito ay madalas hiwa-hiwalay, hindi nakabase sa rationality (bagamat madalas ay bumubuo ito ng sariling lohika at legalidad sa mata at isip ng marami; ang tawag dito ay irrational rationality) at represibo. May ilang mga malalakas na impluwensya na bumubuo sa mga Pilipino bilang mga sekswal na mga mamamayan sa panahon ng globalisasyon at international divison of labour. Bagamat ang mga realidad na ito ay pinakamalapit sa praktika at sa karanasang flesh and blood ay patuloy ang reproduksyon ng isang dominanteng uri ng sekswalidad na represibo, eksploytatibo at sa isang anggulo ay oportunista rin. Ang mga sumusunod ay ilang mga tematiko, diskurso at mga obserbasyon ko sa consumption ng dominanteng uri ng sekswalidad na ito, na ang primaryang midyum, bukod sa mga ideological state apparatus (pamilya, eskwela, simbahan) ay ang popular na kultura. Madalas, mimetic ang consumption ng mga tao sa mga diskursong ito, dahil madaling sundan at paniwalaan ang lohiko ng mga ito.

[1] Ang Imahe ng Birhen at Paano Gawing Atsara ang Tao sa Loob ng Garapon

Mayroong fetish o ilohikal na attachment ang maraming Pilipino sa mga birhen (donselya, never been kissed (never been touched), atbp.). Madalas, ang imahe ng birhen ay madaling ma-trace sa imahe ni Maria Clara (bilang paragon ng lahat ng kababaihan sa isang bansang mahigit pitong libo ang mga pulo?) at siyempre, sa ikonikong Birheng Maria ng Katolisismo. Mula’t sapul, ang tradisyunal na pagpapalaki sa mga batang babae ay nakatali sa ilang bagay-

[a.] Ang pag-aalaga sa pamilya (domestikong pamumuhay) kung saan ang batang babae ay kinokondisyong upang maging mabuting asawa, maging mabuting maybahay at maging mabuting ina sa mga anak kapag nagkapamilya na. Mayroon akong isang naging pag-aaral dati, tungkol sa isang kwentong pambata na tumatalakay sa mga trabaho ng isang ina sa loob ng bahay. Sa isang bahagi ng kuwentong ito ay may isang matandang babae na nagsalita, nagagalit sa lagay ng kamay ng abang ina, “Baka hindi na hawakan ang kamay mo ng asawa mo dahil sa gaspang!”. Ang persona na nakakakita sa lahat ng ito ay isang batang babae rin; at sabi niyang dahil sa pagmamahal niya sa kaniyang ina ay hindi naman niya napapansin ang gaspang ng kamay ng ina. Produktibo ba itong sinabi ng awtor o kontra-produktibo?

Sa aking palagay ay naging kontra-produktibo ito dahil hindi niya ipinakita ang tunay na mga posibleng mangyari. Dahil sa kontrata sa pagitan ng mag-asawa, ay may unspoken rule na dapat ay magmahalan ang dalawang tao na ito habambuhay, till death do us apart. Ibig sabihin, walang pakialam ang diskursong ito sa kung ano ang pwedeng mangyari sa mga taon ng pagsasama ng dalawang tao. Ang importante, manatiling nagmamahalan- at ang pagmamahalan ng mag-asawa ay may pormula rin. Maghanapbuhay, umuwi sa bahay, makipagtalik, mahalin ang mga anak, maging modelong indibidwal para gayahin ng mga bata, atbp. Tanggap na ng lipunang Pilipino ang mga ideyal na ito, kaya makikita ito sa mga komersyal ng sabon, alcohol, pagkain, polbo at maging sa isang dating billboard ng Bench, kung saan ang pamilya ng isang personalidad sa telebisyon ay nakabalandra sa may EDSA.

Ibig sabihin ba ay itatapon na dapat natin lahat ng mga bagay na ito, dahil sila’y walang direktang kontribusyon sa pag-intindi sa mga tunay na kondisyon ng pamumuhay bilang isang domestisidad na kinikilala ng estado? May paraan upang masalba ang ilang mga aspeto nito. Una, ang suporta sa pamilya ay tunay namang kailangan. Ngunit ang represibo dito ay ang role-playing na hinihintay ng bawat indibidwal sa kanilang mga kasama sa buhay. Dito nagkakaroon ng problema, at dito madalas nag-aaway ang mga tao, sapagkat hindi ganito nais mamuhay ng isang indibidwal. Ang karahasan ay isa lamang sa maraming uri ng reaksyon sa represibong domestisidad, na nakatali rin naman sa dominanteng uri ng sekswalidad na mapang-akit dahil maraming bawal, pero kapag naroon ka na ay talagang maraming bawal.

Paano natatakpan ang ganitong uri ng realidad, kung sa kalakhan ay maraming nagkakaroon ng mga magkakatulad o magkakamukhang problema sa isang neo-konserbatibong/iskizofrenikong sekswalidad at domestisidad? Ginagawa ang pagpaplantsa sa mga bagay na ito sa mga talkshow tulad ng Sis at Boy & Kris at kung anu-ano pang mga komoditi ng mga popular na network. Kung mapapansin niyo, ang mga programang ito ay madalas umiinog sa domestisidad. Kaya lang, dapat may sosi, mas kaakit-akit ang mga aktibidad para maging mas maayos ang reception ng audience. Ang pagluluto ay ginagawang mas ka-akit akit dahil may chef at si Kris Aquino ang nagluluto, nagmamando at tumitikim sa pagkain, kaalinsabay din naman ng malawakang proyekto ng Maggi na maging mainstay sa lahat ng kusina sa bansa. Sarap, domestisidad, ano ang dapat pangluto, paano magluto in style- lahat ng ito ay tinatahi sa naratibo ng popular, at ang ang pagtatahi, bagamat hindi pino ay inaabangan ng mga tao sa umaga, pagkakain ng umagahan na ang nagluto madalas ay nanay, kapatid na babae, lola o tiya na nakikitira sa bahay. Dahil madalas hindi praktikal ang tuluyang pag-gaya ay gumagawa ng sarili estilo ang mga tao- at ang pinaka-accessible na pag-gaya sa mga ginagawa ni Kris ay ang pag-gamit sa mga ginagamit niya, at ang isa na rito ay ang Maggie Magic Sarap (gawa ng Nestle!).

Ang mga puntong nabanggit ay pwedeng palawakin indefinitely. Sa mga mas bagong henerasyon ay madalas dalawa ang problema ng kabataan sa kanilang mga pamilya, at sa paraan ng pagpapalaki sa kanila. May isang uri ng magulang na malayang nakakagalaw ang mga anak, kahit pa sa bingit ng kamatayan ay hahayaan ito, at malugo na tatanggapin kung gusto mang bumalik. Ito ay isang alter-ideology na resulta ng disavowal sa mga kronika at mga pagpapahalaga ng mga nakaraang panahon. Madalas ang mga batang produkto ng ganitong uri ng pagpapalaki ay maraming katalik, mahilig sa mga eksploratibong mga gawain (ang marijuana, atbp., ay madalas sinusubukan) at madalas ay nababahagi sa isang uri rin ng subkultura. Ang mga subkultura ay paiba-iba kada lugar, at ito ay may iba’t ibang permutasyon rin base sa saray na pinag-uugatan ng isang tao. Ang mga clique sa petiburgesya ay may katumbas sa mga saray ng lipunan na hindi mataas ang konsentrasyon ng libreng oras at pera. Kahit na ganito ang mga pangyayari, ay nagiging dominante pa rin ang sekswalidad at iba’t iba pang mga ideyolohiya dahil gagawa at gagawa ng paraan ng popular na kultura upang marating ang kasuluk-sulukan ng daigdig. Ang consumption man ay mag-iiba-iba, base na rin sa uri ng access na mayroon ang isang tao. Madalas, nagkakaroon ng isang dominanteng imahe na rin bilang pamalit sa pinag-halu-halong mga popular na musika at mga tematikong bumibighani sa kabataan. Isang halimbawa na nito ang kantang Noypi ng Bamboo o Stupid Love ng Salbakuta, na sa kani-kanilang panahon ay nagsilbing mga himno ng ilang piling grupo ng kabataan na nagkaroon ng asosasyon sa mga laman ng kanta. Sa ibang saray ng lipunan ay iba’t ibang lebel ang naging pagtanggap sa mga nasabing kanta. Sa petiburgesya, ang Noypi ay bahagi lamang ng tren ng mga kantang sunud-sunod na pumipilit pumukaw sa damdaming patriotiko (Dicta License ay mayroon ding ganitong kanta); habang ang iba ay jologs ang tingin sa Stupid Love (pero kinakanta rin ng pasikreto dahil catchy ang tono). Ano ang gusto kong tumbukin?

Hindi iisa ang pinagmumulan ng dominanteng diskurso at hindi rin pantay ang distribusyon nito; kaya naging napakahalaga ng mga ikonikong mga bagay sa kulturang Pilipinas dahil isa rin itong madaling paraan upang magbigkis ng komunikasyon sa napakaraming taong iba’t iba ang pinagmula na saray sa lipunan at iba’t iba rin ang materyal na kondisyon ng pamumuhay. May mga tao bang nagpapatakbo sa mga industriyang kultural na ito, na humuhubog sa mga ideya tungkol sa paano ba gamitin ang mga genitals? Syempre, mayroon.

“Sex sells!” sabi ng isang aktor sa isang pelikula ni Sarah Geronimo. “No Boyfriend Since Birth Ka? Hahaha!!!” Yan ang mga binitawang linya ni John Lloyd Cruz sa isang pelikulang napilitan ako panoorin dahil ako’y nasa isang bus patungong Maynila. Sa lakas ng mga ispiker ay may suspetsa akong fan ni John Lloyd at Sarah Gerinomo ang konduktor. Bilang ilustrasyon, ay makikita kaagad ang sinasabi kong iskizofrenikong sekswalidad ng mga Pilipino. Sex sells, masarap ang sex, ang babaeng naka-two piece, hubo, atbp. at nakakatawa na walang boypren ang isang office worker na matagal nang gradweyt sa kolehiyo. Ang katawagang “hag” o “old maid” ay pwede nang ibato sa abang babaeng walang ka-partner pa sa buhay. Sa isang banda, masakit na tanggapin ang mga bagay na ito dahil ang turo sa mga kababaihan ay dapat maging busilak ang kalooban at sa pers taym ay dapat mga kampana na ng simbahan ang kasunod. Madalas ang taong hindi na gumagana ang ideyolohiyang ito ay nagtatanong- ano ba kasi ang relasyon talaga ng sex at ang pagpapamilya at kasal? Dahil para sa mga taong ito, ang sex ay isa lamang function ng katawan ng tao, parang pagpunta sa kubeta at pagkain ng kanina at ulam. Ang sex ay   defetishized dahil ang mundo ng mga taong ganito mag-isip ay hindi na nakatali sa guilt na walang naman talagang pinag-uugatan, at sa isang sadistang uri ng pananakit sa sarili- ang abstinence habang ang mga pantasya tungkol sa pagliliwaliw sa bisig ng isang kapareha ay walang tigil naman. Ang praktika ay ganito, ngunit ang pantasya at sigaw ng dibdib ay iba.

[2] Maputi, Metathione at Kung Bakit May Mga Rapper na Laging Walang T-Shirt

Si Jay-R ang rapper na madalas na pinapakitang walang t-shirt sa kung san-sang mga pelikula at maging sa mga ads ng kung anu-anong mga komoditi. Ang halos nakahubad na sa hanay ng mga kababaihan naman ay sila Marian Rivera, Angel Locsin at ilan pang mga indibidwal na ispesipiko ang pagkakabuo sa loob ng industriya ng pelikula, tv ads at mga soap opera. Sa antas ng mga apperances ay ispesipiko ang dominanteng diskurso ng sekswalidad. Nagkakaroon ng sekswalisasyon lahat ng bagay, lahat ng uri ng salita, lahat ng uri ng kilos. Ang sekswalisasyon ay madalas makikita ang mga ugat pa rin sa isang uri ng rasismo na sa panahon pa lang ng kolonyalismong Amerikano sa Pasipiko ay nariyan na.

[a.] Eksotismo- isang salitang madalas ginagamit ng mga hindi natutuwa kung paano pagpantasyahan ang mga maitim ang balat. Iskizofreniko ang pananaw sa balat ng tao, at sa kulay nito. Bakit naging eksotiko ang mga maitim at brown skinned e nasa Pilipinas tayo?

Ibig lang sabihin nito, ang normal ay maputi, makinis (ibig sabihin, mabango, walang sakit, malusog, kaakit-akit, masarap), atbp. Walang problem kung ang isang indibidwal ay mahilig sa maputi- trip niya iyon. Ang problema lang, kung hindi ka sasalpak sa mga kategoryang ito ay hindi ka maganda/pogi. Marami rin namang mga taong hindi na sumusunod sa mga ganitong patakaran sa pagpili ng taong kakaibiganin o gagawin kapareha sa buhay. Tingin ko ba ay kung sinusunod pa rin ito ay sasabog ang Pilipinas sa dami ng mga nagagalit, naiinggit, nagkakagalit, atbp.