Occupied Philippines

is the subject of my Trade Tripper column in this Friday-Saturday issue of BusinessWorld:

It used to be that the shout of the past was “workers of the world, unite!” Now, very much like the “Avengers, assemble!” battle cry, it’s “idiots, occupy!” I don’t even think these people know what they’re doing or where they’re supposed to be. Using products made by successful corporations, like iPhones, laptops, with postings in Facebook, they go out to rally against such corporations, screaming against Wall Street by marching in the secluded homes of George Soros’ neighbors.

But pretty much like that joke that if Batman is stupid for wearing his underwear on top of his pants, then Robin is dumber for copying Batman, the same can be said of the people shouting “occupy Mendiola” or Makati. Look, what is the point of making a nuisance in those busy places? To protest against poverty and income inequality? Only for these same people, come election time, with tears in their eyes and with all the passion that idiocy can muster, to again elect people from the same elite, rich families who have long proven themselves incompetent failures or traitors, and who caused all this inequality in the first place.

What would’ve been so funny if it weren’t so pathetic is how shameless and unapologetically arrogant these self-righteous activists are. Only 10 years ago, Villar was applauded by these people for passing (as Speaker of the House) the articles of impeachment against Estrada. These people, the elite and their middle-class wannabes (collectively called the “un-civil society”), would disrupt the Senate impeachment proceedings, hysterically rally in the streets, kick Estrada out, and install Gloria Arroyo as president. Now these very same people want us to forget that it was they who put GMA into power and that we should again believe them when they laud the “greatness” of some current officials, push to “occupy” this or that, or advocate for a contraceptive Philippines?

The hypocrisy of all of this is nauseating. When House Representative Pacquiao or Senator Sotto tried to raise the impropriety of the RH/RP Bill, their academic credentials were questioned. Since when has this country cared about university degrees or academic achievements? If it ever did, then how come those who raised the issue of academics in the last elections were derided or treated with contempt? How come the academic qualifications of those running for office were treated as inconsequential, to the point that if one had them it was actually taken against them?

Why do we have a society where a senator of the land had to apologize for resorting to Filipino instead of English, as Senator Lapid recently did? What kind of screwed-up mentality is that when people are actually contemptuous of someone who prefers to speak a native language instead of a foreign one? What’s the acceptable language then? Spanish or English, the language of our past slavery? Or is it Mandarin or Cantonese, the language of our future potential slavery?

This messed-up way of thinking, that educated self-made men are to be treated suspiciously while rich untalented kids of powerful moms and dads are praised even more than the Pope, is what’s putting us where we are: the pits. This is a country that will not vote for a Lincoln, a Mandela, or an Obama even if they landed right in the middle of EDSA simply because they’re self-made successful men.

Corruption is one issue that is truly the height of double standard and hypocrisy: if it’s the old rich who does it, it’s pragmatic and clever business; if it’s the poor or from the poor who does it, it’s corruption. But how much corruption can the poor do? Petty corruption for purposes of “processing” papers in a government office? This is nothing compared to the large-scale methodical corruption done by the alleged elite in our society and that is what truly damaged our country. Remember all the scandals that happened in the past decades? Those weren’t corruption done by the poor or of the poor. They were instigated by the elite, the purported “de buenas familias.” Read the newspapers and then read our history textbooks: it’s the same people and families screwing the country over and over and over again.

Real change will be effected once the ordinary Filipino realizes that. It won’t be done by psuedo-intellectual columnists quoting Rawls, not the foodie socialite who deludedly thinks she works oh so hard, those that don’t know what a Blahnick is, those who cannot afford Bisteca, those who cannot speak fluent English with the put-on accents. Change will be done by those who work for a living, who actually have to work for a living, because they don’t come from wealthy families or are without powerful fathers or grandfathers that would allow their stupid selves to pose as smart sophisticates.

First thing we do is make sure those idiots that now occupy and keep wanting to occupy don’t get to occupy anymore.