Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Antediluvian





I


Monday. 

Shift ends at six in the morning.  The fx trip home could have been a breezy affair.  Nothing special,  except that when I checked the passengers around me, they were all high-bridged,  browned eyed kids on their way to school.  In their clean white uniforms, reading notes and photocopied books,  I was the odd one with my brown skin,  flat nose  and drab clothes. 

You see them everywhere - the Persians - at  Salcedo Park, in the gym at Eclipse, and especially around the University Belt where they converge and study in our universities. How a lousy (yet cosmopolitan) city like Manila caught their fancy remains a question.  Our ambivalence towards Muslims, particularly the Shia should have driven them away. But instead, they keep on coming - study in these transit-loving islands and then they leave,  never to return.  You see them in pairs, groups or even swarms - quietly doing their business. 

Always distant and aloof from the listless locals


II


The Chinese has postponed the execution of three Filipinos convicted of drug trafficking. The government made a plea to reconsider out of humanitarian reasons. Even the vice-president was dispatched to Beijing to  show the importance of this issue to the country.  

Political gains could be made, should his trip becomes a roaring success.

First there was the snub.  Beijing doesn't want to receive Binay.  When news of this humiliation made headlines, China revised its stand and allowed Binay to fly.  "Let's hope for miracles,"  he said before leaving the airport. I remember how a pragmatic denizen on Twitter scoffed at the thought.  The next day, an unprecedented decision was made.  The Supreme Court of China agrees to review the case.  

"Consider it a friendly gesture. A request granted to a friend," the Chinese mouthpiece said.


III


Binay's trip echoes to the time when the datus sailed all the way to China in their feeble Balanghais. While Zheng He's Treasure Fleet made port of calls to various kingdoms and cities around the region, our confederated tribes went to the Jade emperor's court to recognize and honor its sovereign.

Picture Binay in loincloth and  bahag as he offers fealty and the land's abundance to the Sung ruler. Imagine him being received with pomp and splendour befitting a regent under the mighty dynasty's benevolent shadow. Though centuries of western mind-control may have glimmered our memory,  the past finds its way to rekindle the present.  When the brown skinned Binay returns home with the prisoners' reprieve, his success was hailed across the land.


IV


This  sea  change  brings  us  back  to our roots - where traditional frenemies and trading partners abound in lands around us.  Gone are the days when we would be shoved as another country's colonial subject and instead, we now deal with nations according to our best interest.

The old world is crumbling.  Much as I would like to reassert what colonial brain-washing has taught me, Uncle Sam is not around anymore. Mired in debt, political intrigues and economic fall-outs, its power and prestige has now waned.

Without the ex-master meddling in our affairs, I can't help but feel suspicious of the new player. Since the failed hostage rescue attempt at the Quirino Grandstand last year, the growing influence of China has eclipsed those of the United States.

Distrust stems from the idea that no friendship between a strong and weak country stays equal. Should the drug mules doomed to capital punishment get deported home, expect a huge concession from the Chinese. The oil-rich islets west of Palawan should be a fine payment.  If not possible, scrapping the Visiting Forces Agreement could be a sound trade-off.

But we must remember, we get our bread from the Americans.

Diplomacy has always been a cunning game and we still have much to learn.  While we sought reprieve from Beijing over our prisoners, another delegation flew to Taipei to repair ties with that Chinese country.  Last week, we insulted the island after turning over Taiwanese prisoners to the mainland despite demands from the latter.  Ignored, Taipei retaliated by threatening a mass pull-out of OFWs.

Meanwhile, cross-straight relations reached unprecedented heights by signing trade agreements between the two Chinas.

By now you know, we have been taken for a ride.




10 comments:

dr magsasaka said...

just like our domestic policies, the foreign policies are governed by naivete coupled with pigheadedness.

Trip said...

it's really time to make sacrifices, take a stand, and get a stronghold of our principles, or else, we will always get bullied.

~Carrie~ said...

haist :( I can only feel sad about the current political state of our country. May the Philippine Republic rise from this crisis. Once and for all may we learn from our mistakes and move forward as a great people.

Clarence said...

It’s quite unfortunate for me to say this, but our Republic has survived, our nationhood has survived not because we asserted ourselves, but because we were willing to be lieges to powers. IMHO yes we are resilient like the bamboo, because like the bamboo we are willing to bow down to the wind we cannot see but only feel. Inspite of the heights we can soar, of the strength of our shoots, and of our numbers, we simply let the wind take us down.

Mu[g]en said...

Dr. Magsasaka:

I have the patience of a saint. Let's see where this carnival would lead us this time.

Trip:

Let the media mouthpiece cry foul over others' actions. It reminds me, when the Hong Kong government tried to pull our leg in making more concessions, our press were the ones who said enough is enough.

Mu[g]en said...

Carrie:

I still honestly think we're in a better state today, than we used to, two years ago.

As long as the people have the voice, I have no complaints.

Clarence:

We have always been... Hindi ba, palaging propaganda ng mga aktibista dati, na tuta tayo ng kano.

Soon, it would be different, kuting tayo ng tsina. Hahaha.

Kiks said...

thing with this new administration, it runs the cabinet like it is child's play.

while the US' influence remains strong, the PH government apparently kowtows to China for whatever favors - remember them boycotting that Nobel Peace price event?

while China carries its weight around, our government willingly receives and even lets it sit on their lap.

Mu[g]en said...

Kiks:

It's what alarms me the most - us kowtowing to an emerging superpower.

And what's worrisome is that the regional superpower is our neighbor.

Spiral Prince said...

i really hope this doesn't bite us back in the end. and goodness, i hope everyone's sane enough to not get delusions of starting a world war.

Mu[g]en said...

Spiral Prince:

Wars are financially motivated. Expect bloodshed sooner or later.