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Friday, September 30, 2011

Fried Filipino Pride

PPP - Pathetic Pinoy Pride

It never fails. Every time there is an individual who happens to be DIFFERENT from mainstream Filipinos gets in the world spotlight, Filipinos rush like rats given free cheese. These Filipinos only similarity to the persons on the stage is that they were both born in the Philippines – BY ACCIDENT!

It is really PATHETIC when these same Filipinos ascribe to their sorry selves – the qualities that made the achievers get to where they are. As if every Filipino had the guts, discipline, and focus of Manny Pacquiao, Charice Pempengco, Lea Salonga, the Dragon Row Boat team and the like.

I can’t for the life of me, figure out how exactly are these Filipinos who “take pride” in the achievement of other Filipinos. I can feel happy about other Filpinos – but to “take pride” in someone else’s achievements just does not sound right. It reminds me of a common Pinoy phrase – “ikaw ang nagsaing, iba ang kumain”! Quite appropriate ain’t it. Let’s bring it home.

Si Manny Paquiao ang nagsaing – ang mga Pinoy ang gustong kumain.

Manny Pacquiao had potential, talent, and a determination to rise out of poverty. However, without an enabling environment provided by an alien environment that consisted of Freddie Roach, the American consumers who paid to watch Manny, the well-equipped gyms of Los Angeles – Manny would remain as a potential – raw, untransformed, full of dreams, full of hope – but remain poor. Manny’s determination to succeed, in contrast to pathetic Filipinos resignedness in their fate – “kapalaran” “kagustuhan ng Diyos”, “wala na tayong magawa”, “ganyan talaga ang buhay” – definitely helped.

Then here we are faced with Manny’s success and you have all these passive aggressive losers wanting to bask in the borrowed light of Manny’s fame – mga bituing walang ningning!!! :)

Si Charice Pempengco ang nagsaing – ang mga Pinoy ang gustong kumain.

The phenomenon of Charice is also typical. Locally, Charice was an unappreciated talent left to the dogs because the moronic local media thinks she doesn’t have the face of a mestiza skank. Had Charice stayed in the Philippines – she would become a has-been even before she started. Fortunately for that girl, an alien, a non-Filipino took notice of her talent, introduced her to the right people – and the rest is history.

Of course, when the world took notice of Charice – the Filipinos who didn’t give Charice a second look before – are now yammering “Filipino Pride” because Charice accidentally happened to be Filipino. As if being Filipino means having a voice like Charice.

Cmon now – just go into any Pinoy videoke – and torture yourself to a cacophony of “My Way” renditions. You don’t even have to go far – chances are, your neighbor has the volume turned up so that the entire neighborhood can hear the bloke sing like a screeching cat.

And the list continues:

* Si Lea Salonga ang nagsaing – ang mga Pinoy ang gustong kumain.

* Si Shamcey ang nagsaing – ang mga Pinoy ang gustong kumain.

* Si (insert name of celebrity) ang nagsaing – ang mga Pinoy ang gustong kumain.

No one is to be blamed for being born a Filipino. BUT no one is to be exalted to be born a Filipino either.

However, Filipinos who justify, eulogize, and perpetuate a culture of mediocrity – such Filipinos arouse indignation, contempt, and loathing.

Filipino Pride? Fry it!!!

P.S. Shamcey’s answer sounded no different from a RELIGIOT in the streets of Divisoria – nothing Miss Universey about it. Her bod was hot though – like all the other contestants – just what Donald Trump wants from the bimbos who strut on the stage of his franchise.

Ika nga – beauty is skin deep. Most Pinoys who are used to Pinoy-style pageants miss out on the part where it says “the Miss Universe Organization prefers national pageants that preserve an aura of respectability and competition”. Beauty is like a cake – on top of being delicious, it helps to have icing on the cake. And in a pageant full of hot bods – it helps to actually have a brain.

About the Author


has written 295 stories on this site.

BongV is the webmaster of Antipinoy.com.

Business leader cites 5 reasons why Philippines can become next Asean tiger


MANILA, Philippines—The Philippines has a fresh opportunity to be Asia’s next tiger economy, potentially regaining the glory lost decades ago, according to a visiting regional business leader from Brunei.

Dato Timothy Ong, a leading Brunei businessman who founded and now chairs regional dialogue platform Asia Inc. Forum, said in a press briefing on Monday that he has seen signs that the Philippines could revisit its goal of being the next Asian tiger despite staying at the bottom half of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in terms of economic performance for years.

Ong is also the convener of Asean 100 Leadership Forum, which will be hosted by the city of Makati on Sept. 28-29 at the Makati Shangri-La. This year’s Asean meet aims to foster insightful and intelligent discussions on the future of Asean and how the region can emerge as one of the world’s significant economic blocs.

For Ong, the Philippines can join the ranks of Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong, the so-called Asian “tiger” economies or newly industrializing countries. He cited five reasons why the country, though a “dark horse,” had the makings of the next “tiger.”

First and foremost, Ong said the new leadership under President Aquino has promised to weed out corruption in the country, which has been creating a lot of optimism.

It’s widely perceived that the high level of corruption in the country has driven up the cost of doing business.

The second reason, Ong said, would be the Philippines’ vast pool of hardworking and skilled manpower, many of whom have been deployed across the globe. “With this wealth of human resources, it’s important to ask then why the Philippines isn’t more successful economically,” he said.

The third factor would be the Philippines’ “centers of excellence,” Ong said, noting that the country has become a competitive hub for business process outsourcing. He likened the Makati central business district to a “First World” city in a Third World country. “If the Philippines is capable of being first world in these centers of excellence, why can’t it be First World in every respect?” he said.

Ong said the fourth reason would be the Philippines’ homegrown companies that were at par with the world’s best. He cited fast-food giant Jollibee Foods Corp., international port operator International Container Terminal Services Inc. and the Ayala group of companies.

“There is a sense of optimism that characterizes the country as a whole. As the new government takes its steps in leading the country towards change, it may be able to experience higher standards of governance,” he said.

Finally, Ong noted the Philippines’ “sharply improving competitiveness” as another factor supporting its aspiration to be the next tiger economy. He cited recent reports that the Philippines had jumped 10 notches to 75 from 85 in the latest ranking of the World Economic Forum. Ong said this happened only within the first 15 months of the term of the new president.

Meanwhile, Ong said Asean would likely partly meet its target to establish an integrated economic community by 2015.

“A One Asean is important for our collective future to accelerate the economic growth, social progress and economic stability in the region; to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in economic, social, cultural, technical and administrative spheres,” Ong said.

“At the moment, Southeast Asia is like a big gated community where neighbors barely know each other. They know each other by name, they exchange pleasantries but they wouldn’t really go out of their way to have dinner at each other’s house,” he said.

Once integrated, he said, Asean could be a very influential bloc as it could become Asia’s third-largest economy next to China and Japan and the ninth-largest in the world.

Women Think of Everything!‏

An old man and woman were married for many years, even though they hated each other. Whenever there was a confrontation, yelling could be heard deep into the night. The old man would shout, 'When I die, I will dig my way up and out of the grave and come back and haunt you for the rest of your life!'

Neighbors feared him. They believed he practiced magic, because of the many strange occurrences that took place in their neighborhood. The old man liked the fact that he was feared. ---To everyone's relief, he died of a heart attack when he was 98.

His wife had a closed casket at the wake. After the burial, she went straight to the local bar and began to party, as if there was no tomorrow.

Her neighbors, concerned for her safety, asked, 'Aren't you afraid that he may indeed be able to dig his way out of the grave and haunt you for the rest of your life?'

The wife put down her drink and said, "Let him dig. I had him buried upside down, and you know men won't ask for directions..."

Cultural Center of the Philippines’ real shocker

11:58 pm | Thursday, August 25th, 2011

With all humility, there is more to the Cultural Center of the Philippines than Mideo Cruz’s shock art that unfairly overshadowed the larger part of the whole.

And the real shocker is, it’s long been neglected.

Not everyone knows the CCP produces about 800 shows a year and that the Filipino art institution has more than two million people listening to its award-winning radio program: “Sugpuin ang Korupsyon,” elevated to the Hall of Fame by the Catholic Mass Media Awards.

Most recently, it celebrated Jose Rizal’s 150th birthday featuring prominent artists and performing groups led by the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra and Ballet Philippines.

A follow-up, “Noli Me Tangere: The Musical” is ongoing at the Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino to critical acclaim.

More than 40 years of feeding hunger for the arts, the CCP now looks like a visibly haggard lady obviously spent.

Put side by side with Singapore’s Esplanade and Hong Kong’s Museum of Art, it looks decrepit and needs a major overhaul to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with these two, which never existed before CCP was born.

We built new cities, some of the world’s biggest malls, fattened the military budget, yet we left the country’s haven for the arts fend for itself in the last many years.

Before Cruz’s art exploded on our faces, CCP was already gasping for its breath, digging deeper into its own pocket much too often and its resident artists crying for help.

From afar, the once envy of Asia still mesmerizes. The architectural wonder, which former US Ambassador to the Philippines Henry Byroade mentioned as “it makes our Kennedy Center look cheap,” still makes people stop.

On closer scrutiny, however, the Venus-like beauty is aging faster, battered by time and dwindling support.

The 43-year-old edifice is in dire need of money for its upkeep, against the threats of fiscal neglect and those who wish to see her untimely demise.

The ceiling of the orchestra section is inching closer to becoming like that of a rundown movie theater.

The hydraulic unit at the back of Main Theater, an integral part for seamless, multi-vantage point staging, is about to be shut down. Seriously damaged during the 1990 earthquake, it has not been repaired since then.

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra rehearsal studio does not befit its name in spite of the many accolades it has brought home. It is just as pathetic and looks like a provincial university auditorium.

French maestro Olivier Ochanine told media people during a recent tour of the premises: “Careful not to jump up and down, you’ll feel the rickety vibration of the floor.”

Ballet Philippines is another sordid sight. The Philippines’ biggest ballet school is housed in a cramped, uninspiring piece of space. A ballerina could easily hurt herself on a miscue while doing pirouettes.

Yet, the ensemble under former Miss Universe Margie Moran-Floirendo is ever passionate nurturing Filipino ballet talents to world-class status even with diminishing resources.

Further down the once elegant foyer nests Ramon Obusan’s folkloric dance company. The group now handled by the National Artist’s sister, Iris Obusan-Isla, has enthralled the world many times over. Like the rest of the resident companies at CCP, it is literally begging for government’s help.

At Tanghalang Pilipino, actor John Arcilla, one of local thespians of Actors Company, says it best: “Rizal’s novels and teachings are even more relevant today. Walang nagbago. Mga personalidad lang ang nagbago.”

Arcilla laments the theater’s outdated equipment and artists’ meager wages: “Kung pababayaan natin ang mga Filipino artists, sino pa ang magpa-paalaala ng ating kultura sa mga kabataan kundi tayong mga alagad ng sining?”

At the height of a controversial art exhibit a couple of weeks ago, CCP chairperson Emily Abrera reiterated that the CCP would continue to be a refuge for artistic freedom and uphold it as enshrined in the Constitution. Her “intransigence” enraged the bishops.

Artistic freedom, whether it was compromised or not, has brought forth original Filipino content in dance, theater, music, literature, visual arts and film to Filipinos for four decades.

CCP artistic director Chris Millado told media that CCP provides local and global artistic experiences to Filipinos.

“About 400,000 attend shows at the main venues, and more than 100,000 compose audiences and artists in the regions,” he said.

Last Tuesday, CCP opened the first international jazz fest with 150 international artists on the bill. “The festival is part of our program to open up CCP on a global scale,” says CCP president Raul Sunico.

Around 20,000 also view CCP’s TV programs (“The Red Carpet” among them) on arts and culture. Through the years, CCP has nurtured and developed artists who have become world-class and masters in their field.

Millado says CCP even responds to national calamities and emergency situations through art and culture via Art Therapy programs for children and families affected by natural disasters and from conflict-ridden areas.

Creative excellence

CCP’S flagship for artistic excellence is the Resident Company Program composed of: Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, UST Symphony Orchestra, Ballet Philippines, Philippine Ballet Theater, Philippine Madrigal Singers, Tanghalang Pilipino, Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group and the National Music Competition for Young Artists.

CCP produces and hosts festivals, among them, the Pasinaya CCP Open House Festival, considered as the largest multi-arts festival in the country, attracting more than 50,000 people and 2,000 performers in a single day offered free to the public.

CCP’s Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival is now considered as the biggest and most influential film festival. It is changing the landscape of cinematic art in the Philippines.

The 13 Artists Awards and Exhibition has become the career launching pad of painters, sculptors,installation artists whose works are now recognized in Asia and the world.

In contrast, not many people know that a large chunk of money gobble up CCP’s budget on physical maintenance alone.

Upgrading instruments, equipment, facilities and salaries are an entirely different matter—they’re mind-boggling.

“CCP is our proud link to our earliest ancestors, living proof of our creative genius, bridge of understanding between nationalities. May it forever stand as a shrine for that immortal part of us,” CCP Tanghalang Pilipino executive director Leslie Noble states.

When it unleashes its grand fountain, CCP is a joy to behold with the Philippine flag gently flapping at the background. Just lazing away on its grounds, biking or jogging around its premises gives freedom to the soul. It has given us so much. It’s time to give something back.

Arts and culture , Cultural Center of the Philippines , state budget

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I went on line this evening and there was a lot of hoopla from Pinoys about Miss Shamsey Supsup, the candidate from The Philippines to the Miss Universe pageant making it to the “Top Five” through on-line voting. Knowing Filipinos, that was another one of their “voting frenzies” drummed up by those who want to be “Proud Pinoys” in case Mis Philippines indeed wins in that contest.

I just breathed a sigh of relief when finally someone tweeted that it was Miss Angola who won the Miss Universe contest. I was really wishing that a person other than that Supsup girl would win the crown and I am happy my wish came true. Now everyone will be spared of overzealous starstruck ignoramuses peppering the on-line and real world with messages, written and verbal, of how PROUD they are of the Filipina contestant had she won.

I have always been annoyed at how beholden the Filipino people are to beauty contests. They make a bigger deal of it than what it really is – for entertainment. When Miss Philippines wins they act as if the country has landed a man on another planet or everyone was uplifted from poverty and if she loses, they all get “butthurt” and try to cry foul or make statements that the judgement was unfair or in error. SO WHAT if The Philippines does not win the crown? They are a people who put more importance on this more than other normal societies of the world.

One time the Miss Universe pageant was held in The Philippines, Charlene Gonzalez went on stage and the Pinoy crowd just howled prompting one of the hosts to say: “THEY TAKE THEIR PAGEANTS VERY SERIOUSLY HERE IN THE PHILIPPINES”

Don’t you know how ridiculous that makes us sound as a people? VERY.

First of all, beauty is something that someone possesses naturally. People would not look up to your country because some woman from it won a beauty pageant. If your country is still a dumpster, people all over the world would still look at your people as trash. Raising loud howls of protest and beating your chest about how “proud” you still are and how “she is still a winner in our hearts” while the rest of the world just switches the TV off and moves on to other matters shows how low class we are as a people by raising a ruckus about a contest that is very trivial and superficial.

The answer of Miss Philippines was not even an intelligent one.

Question: “Would you change your religious beliefs to marry the person you love?”

Answer of Ms. Shamcey Supsup: “No. I will not change my religion to marry the one I love, because the first person I love is God. He is the one who created me. And the principles and values that I have now is because of Him. So if that man loves me, he should also love my God.”

This shows she is close minded. Love for me transcends religious beliefs and you accept the person you love for whatever he or she is, unconditionally. Filipinos though, would be very impressed by her answer and talk about her like she was a rocket scientist who just designed a spaceship that could travel beyond the speed of light.

Some were even “blaming” Lea Salonga for “making the question easy” for Miss Angola as if they wanted her to be corrupt and intentionally make someone else lose so Miss Philippines can win and make The Filipinos “bask in borrowed glory”. How pathetic could they be?

If Filipinos have this to say if she has lost, how much more if she won?

(Source: http://www.facebook.com/MissUniverse2011

I am really glad that she lost. Otherwise, there would be more embarassing behavior from our kababayans all over the world writing and telling people around them that Miss Philippines won and we are very beautiful and smart as a people (which everyone now knows is nothing but a bunch of hogwash until we learn to get real).

As I have said in a previous article:

“you cannot really say you are proud of the Filipino as a group especially if you base it on a very minuscule, cherry picked cross section of the said group. You and even I can say I admire Charice Pempengco but I will not force my association with her and claim her pride as my own by throwing in something we have in common by accident of our birth.

For one to be proud to be a Filipino, The Philippines should be a progressive country through the cooperative efforts of its own people.”

Arroyo the most corrupt president

By Ramon Tulfo
Philippine Daily Inquirer

A total of P2.5 billion in behest agricultural loans to friends and associates of the former first couple, Mike and Gloria Arroyo has been made public.

Sen. Frank Drilon, who made the exposé, says it’s impossible to recover the loans since most of the borrowers are not identified, do not want to pay or have been reported as dead.

The Arroyos were allegedly into all kinds of money-making ventures: From telecommunications (NBN-ZTE); railroad (North and South rails); selling second-hand choppers and passing them off as new; intelligence funds of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office; fertilizer and all kinds of products that government distributed supposedly to help the citizenry; real estate (Alpha Land, a real estate development company, is reportedly Mike’s but under a dummy’s name); taking over closed banks; smuggling.

They didn’t even spare “jueteng,” a poor man’s numbers game, which is illegal.

Gloria Macapagal “Makapal” Arroyo is apparently more corrupt than Ferdinand Marcos since the latter didn’t touch jueteng.

* * *

There have been reports of ammunition made by Armscor, a local gun and ammunition manufacturer, misfiring during shooting practice.

I found out the reports were accurate when most of the Armscor .22 caliber ammunition I used in a target practice recently did not fire.

One piece of ammo was so overloaded with gunpowder that it blew up in my face.

It destroyed the German-made .22 caliber pistol I recently bought at the last gun show.

I was lucky I was wearing protective shooting glasses when I fired the Armscor .22 caliber ammo because my eyes would have been hit by the gunpowder residue.

Isn’t there a government agency that watches over the quality control of products that come out of local gun and ammo factories?

* * *

Armscor is owned by the Tuasons who are related to former first gentleman Mike Arroyo.

It was able to sell many pistols and 9 mm ammo to the Philippine National Police (PNP) without passing the required test on all guns and ammo because of Mike Arroyo.

* * *

I hate to write about Armscor’s defective guns and ammo since one of its owners, the late Butch Tuason, was a hunting buddy many years ago.

Butch, who died of cancer, was a regular guy and very particular about the quality of Armscor ammo that we used for hunting.

It was only after his death, I’ve observed, that the quality of guns and ammo at Armscor deteriorated.

Most of my friends in the practical shooting community don’t advise using Armscor ammunition for target practice or carry them because of their poor quality.

* * *

A few days after I wrote about the lousy service Globe Telecom gives to its customers, I received a promo letter from the company asking that I upgrade my subscription plan.

The nerve!

My subscription plan is platinum, the highest Globe can give, so I expect excellent service from the phone company.

But what do I get for my platinum plan?

My calls almost always get disconnected or cut off in the middle of a conversation.

The “dropped” calls are charged to my monthly bills.

If a platinum holder like me gets lousy service, I can imagine what kind of service subscribers with lesser plans get.

There was a time Globe gave excellent service.

* * *

What’s gone wrong with Globe?

Over-subscription, meaning it has accepted customers more than it can handle.

The result is clogged lines that cut off your calls in the middle of a conversation.

There’s a term for it: Greed.

Fighting Corruption Alone Is Not Greatness Per Se

Razor’s Edge
By Jose Mari Mercader

Many Filipinos are excited, and to a certain extent, rightly so, over the seeming determination of President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III to eradicate venalities in the government. Another plus to his image Aquino cheer leaders are euphoric about, is his campaign against the use of car sirens public officials abuse, to ego-trip. Still, both moves do not make him a demigod in Mount Olympus, metaphorically speaking.

These moves do not prove anything. He has to lock behind bars a great majority of crooks in the government before it can be said he is great; but definitely not the greatest president as sycophants want people to believe. Besides, it’s too early in the day for that outlandish claim. P-Noy is only in his second year to make such a ludicrous claim, which is utter nonsense!

Filing cases against corrupt officials could be theatrics to gain acceptance. The bottom line is to scoop as many convictions as possible. Convictions prove the cases are not just to harass political enemies but to serve the ends of justice. With the help of a docile Secretary of Justice and a sprinkling of justices beholden to PNoy or his late mother, former Pres. Cory Aquino, anybody can emerge from a mirage larger than life. His own mother who struck the world with awe for overthrowing the late dictator in the elections of 1986 failed to curtail venalities in her administration because she did not have dedicated prosecutors.

Success is concrete. Grandstanding is shallow. If, at the end of the day, after his term, he put myriads of rotten bureaucrats and cronies of previous presidents behind bars with long sentences, then he earned the feather in his cap as leader par excellence. Short of that everything is wishful thinking.

If he is really uncompromising to jail corrupt officials, why does he not file cases against former Tourism Secretary Jose Antonio Gonzales who sold our PAL building in Stockton California, when he was chairman of our flagship (Philippine Airlines) during Cory’s presidency?

The transaction was fraught with anomalous aspects: it was done without bidding six months after Cory yanked out Dictator Marcos when there was no evident urgency to dispose said building for the ridiculous price of $10 million. It was said the buyer turned around and sold it for $52 million soon after, according to rumors. Adding insult to injury, at 87 Gonzales is filthy rich chasing women like a love-struck overheating dog.

Thus, to say that on the basis of cases filed against the cabal of former Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s officials and family members, and having ordered the silencing of creaming wang-wangs announcing the passing of VIPs (very important pigs), does not make Noynoy our greatest president. That would be puking exaggeration of our appreciation for something which is part of his official duties.

It comes as no surprise that some people are said to be plotting to downgrade his administration. This could be the offshoot of the hype that he is the greatest president we ever had, when nothing could be farthest from the truth.

For him to rest now because he already “fought” corruption, then he has trivialized the presidential office that is laden with responsibilities. If anything, PNoy is only complying with his campaign promises. Otherwise he can become instant lightning rod of criticisms that he is a rabble-rousing yo-yo buttering voters during elections making outlandish promises with no intention of fulfilling, a charlatan, dumb dodo, numbskull, carpetbagger, etc.

There are vital issues begging to be addressed to make the country move forward. Freezing them as mediocre presidents did in the past is recycling the obscene inaction that kept these chores inert for decades to the chagrin of our suffering people.

One thing is to be grateful another is pulling down the eyelids of citizens to deceive them about P-Noy’s phantom accomplishments. The colossal budget for the president’s office does not limit his performance to the anti-wang-wang decree and corruption to its minimum, and already he is great. Assuming he manages to cut down shenanigans and anomalies in the administration, he would only be doing his duty as commander-in-chief. The question is for how long?!

Unarguably, the initiative taken by the President is commendable nevertheless it would be erroneous to limit his duties to just a couple of sights in the government’s radar. He has to cover more grounds and changes before he is done in Malacanang. Instituting social justice where people are truly equal with the super rich in society, and restore peace and order to make Filipinos live in peace and tranquility are issues as important as fighting corruption in the government, which has been the mantra of those asking for reforms since Cory’s time.

Improving the economy is extremely important considering that it will diminish if not halt the Diaspora of Filipinos abroad. The government should initiate incentives to make them stay in the country and be more productive living with their families. Presidential attention on this matter is indispensable instead of exposing our fellow citizens to mutilation and being beaten to a pulp in Middle East countries on capricious and or fabricated charges.

Overseas Filipinos workers (OFW) risk life and limbs abroad because of maladministration in the homeland. Their accursed life is impacted on them by politicians who do nothing but enrich in office. That’s how depraved crooks in the government are. And they have the gall to call themselves leaders of the country.

Immodesty aside, if there is anyone who salutes the president for fighting corruption that would be me. I consistently fought corruption in the government openly in the streets and on radio. Thereafter, against the corrupt governance of leaders that included PNoy’s mother, former President Cory Aquino, all the way to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after thrashing the presidencies of Fidel V. Ramos and Erap. But I am not far gone by saying that Noynoy, who spearheads the battle against corrupt officials, is the greatest president we ever had. He has to sustain the onslaught against venalities without fear or favor, i.e. send to jail friends and foes alike along with erring relatives working in the government.

Sad to say he has every semblance of his mother’s lamentable vindictiveness and utang na loob mania that corrodes good governance. A president cannot be impartial if he is demonized by demeaning penchants.

Never say a man is great before he is dead lest we bite our tongue later because the imponderable can still happen. He can yet fall from the lofty regard of our people as has happened time and again to heroes who turned scoundrels later in the day. This makes me detest the rushing accolade that P-Noy is the greatest president we ever had mainly because cases of corruption against Arroyo officials and cronies are being filed in court nowadays. By any account this is no measure of a president’s greatness.

For one thing he still has to face the challenge of what percentage will the convictions be in contrast to the cases thrown out of the window for lack of merit or anchored on vengeance. Filing a case of corruption just to grandstand does not mean success. A president’s motive has to be distilled if it is earnest in intention and not a drama to hoodwink the people.

Noy, go after the grafters of previous administrations whose lifestyle as oriental potentates rub salt and vinegar on the open wounds of our poverty-stricken people. Only callous politicians have that heartlessness and unmitigated chutzpah.

Congress is full of these crocodiles. Many of them are local executives untouched by law because they have the power and money. Letting them get away with their crime defeats your “crusade” against corruption.

You have only one term of six years, spare nobody who violates the law regardless of his proximity to you by blood or politically. Make your move now. Compartmentalize justice is utterly detestable!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The flight from marriage

Asians are marrying later, and less, than in the past. This has profound implications for women, traditional family life and Asian politics

WITH her filmy polka-dot dress, huge sunglasses and career as a psychologist, Yi Zoe Hou of Taiwan might seem likely to be besieged by suitors. Yet, at 35, she is well past Taiwan’s unspoken marriage deadline. “It’s a global village,” she shrugs. “If I can’t find a Taiwanese guy that accepts my age, I can find another man somewhere else.” Maybe—but since she still wants children, Ms Hou is also wondering whether to use a sperm bank or ask a male friend to be a sperm donor. She represents a new world of family life for Asians.

Conservatives in the West are fond of saying that the traditional family is the bedrock of society. That view is held even more widely in Asia. The family is the focus of Confucian ethics, which holds that a basic moral principle, xiushen (self-improvement), can be pursued only within the confines of the family. In an interview in 1994 Lee Kuan Yew, a former prime minister of Singapore, argued that after thousands of years of dynastic upheaval, the family is the only institution left to sustain Chinese culture. It embodies a set of virtues—“learning and scholarship and hard work and thrift and deferment of present enjoyment for future gain”—which, he said, underpins Asia’s economic success. He feared that the collapse of the family, if it ever happened, would be the main threat to Singapore’s success.

His Malaysian contemporary, Mahathir Mohamad, went further. In a book written in 1995 with a Japanese politician, Shintaro Ishihara, Dr Mahathir contrasted Asians’ respect for marriage with “the breakdown of established institutions and diminished respect for marriage, family values, elders, and important customs” in the West. “Western societies”, Dr Mahathir claimed, “are riddled with single-parent families… with homosexuality, with cohabitation.” He might well have concluded that the absence of traditional family virtues from the streets of London recently showed the continued superiority of Asia.

Asians, in fact, have several distinct family systems. To simplify: in South Asia it is traditional to have arranged, early marriages, in which men are dominant and the extended family is important. East Asia also has a male-dominated system, but one that stresses the nuclear family more; nowadays it has abandoned arranged marriages. In South-East Asia, women have somewhat more autonomy. But all three systems have escaped many of the social changes that have buffeted family life in the West since the 1960s.

In South Asia and China marriage remains near-universal, with 98% of men and women tying the knot. In contrast, in some Western countries, a quarter of people in their 30s are cohabiting or have never been married, while half of new marriages end in divorce. Marriage continues to be the almost universal setting for child-bearing in Asia: only about 2% of births took place outside wedlock in Japan in 2007. Contrast that with Europe: in Sweden in 2008 55% of births were to unmarried women, while in Iceland the share was 66%.

Most East and South-East Asian countries report little or no cohabitation. The exception is Japan where, among women born in the 1970s, about 20% say they have cohabited with a sexual partner. For Japan, that is a big change. In surveys between 1987 and 2002, just 1-7% of single women said they had lived with a partner. But it is not much compared with America where, according to a 2002 Gallup poll, over half of married Americans between the ages of 18 and 49 lived together before their wedding day. In many Western societies, more cohabitation has offset a trend towards later marriage or higher rates of divorce. That has not happened in Asia.

Traditional attitudes live on in other ways. Compared with Westerners, Asians are more likely to agree that “women’s happiness lies in marriage”. They are more likely to say women should give up work when they get married or have children, and more likely to disapprove of pre-marital sex. Surveys by Pew Global Research, a social-research outfit in Washington, DC, show that Muslims in South and South-East Asia are more likely than Muslims elsewhere to say that families should choose a woman’s husband for her.

Over the hill

Yet, as Ms Hou shows, Asia is changing. Although attitudes to sex and marriage are different from those in the West, the pressures of wealth and modernisation upon family life have been just as relentless. They have simply manifested themselves in different ways. In the West the upshot has been divorce and illegitimacy. In Asia the results include later marriage, less marriage and (to some extent) more divorce. The changes in the West may be more dramatic. But both East and West are seeing big changes in the role of women and traditional family life.

The first change is that people are getting married later, often much later. In the richest parts—Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong—the mean age of wedlock is now 29-30 for women, 31-33 for men (see chart right). That is past the point at which women were traditionally required to marry in many Asian societies. It is also older than in the West. In America, women marry at about 26, men at 28. If you take account of the cohabitation that routinely precedes Western marriage (but not Asian), the gap between East and West is even larger. The mean age of marriage has risen by five years in some East Asian countries in three decades, which is a lot.

The second change is that, among certain groups, people are not merely marrying later. They are not getting married at all. In 2010 a third of Japanese women entering their 30s were single. Perhaps half or more of those will never marry. In 2010 37% of all women in Taiwan aged 30-34 were single, as were 21% of 35-39-year-olds. This, too, is more than in Britain and America, where only 13-15% of those in their late 30s are single. If women are unmarried entering their 40s, they will almost certainly neither marry nor have a child.

The Asian avoidance of marriage is new, and striking. Only 30 years ago, just 2% of women were single in most Asian countries. The share of unmarried women in their 30s in Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong has risen 20 points or more (see chart below), “a very sharp change in a relatively short period”, says Gavin Jones of the National University of Singapore. In Thailand, the number of women entering their 40s without being married increased from 7% in 1980 to 12% in 2000. In some cities, rates of non-marriage are higher: 20% among women aged 40-44 in Bangkok; 27% among 30-34-year-olds in Hong Kong. In South Korea, young men complain that women are on “marriage strike”.

What is remarkable about the Asian experience is not that women are unmarried in their 30s—that happens in the West, too—but that they have never been married and have rarely cohabited. In Sweden, the proportion of women in their late 30s who are single is higher than in Asia, at 41%. But that is because marriage is disappearing as a norm. Swedish women are still setting up homes and having children, just outside wedlock. Not in Asia. Avoiding both illegitimacy and cohabitation, Asian women appear to be living a more celibate life than their Western sisters (admittedly, they could also be under-reporting rates of cohabitation and pre-marital sex). The conclusion is that East Asia’s growing cohorts of unmarried women reflect less the breakdown of marriage than the fact that they are avoiding it.

But marriages are breaking down, too. In Hong Kong and Japan, the general divorce rate—the number of divorces per 1,000 people aged 15 or more—was about 2.5 in the mid-2000s, according to Mr Jones’s calculations. In Asia as a whole, the rate is about 2 per 1,000. That compares with 3.7 in America, 3.4 in Britain, 3.1 in France and 2.8 in Germany. Only in one or two Asian countries is divorce as widespread as in the West. The South Korean rate, for example, is 3.5. Because divorce has been common in the West for decades, more couples there have split up. The rise in Asia has been recent: China’s divorce rate took off in the early 2000s. In the 1980s the Asian rate was 1 per 1,000 people; now it is 2. If that rise continues, Asian divorce could one day be as common as in Europe.

An educated choice

The main function of marriage in most traditional societies is to bring up children (romantic love rarely has much to do with it). Not surprisingly, changes in child-bearing have gone along with changes in marriage. The number of children the average East Asian woman can expect to have during her lifetime—the fertility rate—has fallen from 5.3 in the late 1960s to below 1.6 now, an enormous drop. But old-fashioned attitudes persist, and these require couples to start having children soon after marriage. In these circumstances, women choose to reduce child-bearing by delaying it—and that means delaying marriage, too.

Changing marriage patterns are also the result of improvements in women’s education and income, and the failure of women’s status to keep pace. The salient characteristic of many traditional marriage systems is that women—especially young women—have little independence. In South Asia, brides are taken into the groom’s family almost as soon as they move into puberty. They are tied to their husband’s family. Sometimes women may not inherit property or perform funeral rites (this is especially important in China). In parts of South Asia, wives may not even take their children to hospital without getting their husband’s permission.

Two forces are giving women more autonomy: education and jobs. Women’s education in East Asia has improved dramatically over the past 30 years, and has almost erased the literacy gap with men. Girls stay at school for as many years as boys, and illiteracy rates for 15-24-year-olds are the same for the two sexes (this is not true of South Asia). In South Korea now, women earn half of all master’s degrees.

Education changes women’s expectations. Among Thai women who left school at 18, one-eighth were still single in their 40s; but among university graduates, the share was a fifth. A survey in Beijing in 2003 found that half of women with a monthly income of 5,000-15,000 yuan (roughly $600-1,800, an indicator of university education) were not married. Half said they did not need to be, because they were financially independent. South Koreans call such people “golden misses”. “Why should I have to settle down to a life of preparing tofu soup, like my mother?” asks one.

Rates of non-marriage rise at every stage of education. Women with less than secondary education are the most likely to marry, followed by those with secondary education, with university graduates least likely. This pattern is the opposite of the one in America and Europe, where marriage is more common among college graduates than among those with just a secondary education.

There are two reasons why education’s spread reduces women’s propensity to marry. First, non-marriage has always been more prevalent among women with more education. Now that there are more women in these higher-education groups, there are fewer marriages. Marriage rates are also lower in cities. Since education is likely to go on improving, and urbanisation to go on rising, more women will join the ranks of graduates or city folk who are least likely to marry.

Marrying up

Second, more education leaves the best-educated women with fewer potential partners. In most Asian countries, women have always been permitted—even encouraged—to “marry up”, ie, marry a man of higher income or education. Marrying up was necessary in the past when women could not get an education and female literacy was low. But now that many women are doing as well or better than men at school, those at the top—like the “golden misses”—find the marriage market unwelcoming. Either there are fewer men of higher education for them to marry, or lower-income men feel intimidated by their earning power (as well as their brain power). As Singapore’s Mr Lee once said: “The Asian man…preferred to have a wife with less education than himself.” In Singapore, non-marriage rates among female university graduates are stratospheric: a third of 30-34-year-old university graduates are single.

Better education also makes possible the other main trend changing marriage: female employment. Asia’s economic miracle has caused—and been caused by—a surge of women into the formal workforce. In East Asia two-thirds of women have jobs, an unusually high rate. In South-East Asia the figure is 59%. In South Korea the employment rate of women in their 20s (59.2%) recently overtook that of twenty-something men (58.5%). This surge has been accompanied by the collapse of the lifetime-employment systems in Japanese and South Korean firms, which used to ensure that a single (male) worker’s income could support a middle-class family. Now the wife’s earnings are needed, too.

All things being equal, having a job increases a woman’s autonomy. She has more options, and these options include not having a husband. But it is clear from Western societies that women will not necessarily choose a job over marriage. Rather, they will struggle to balance the conflicting demands of work and family.

What is unusual about Asia is that women seem to bear an unusually large share of the burden of marriage, reducing the attractiveness of family life compared with work. Certainly, this is what Asian women themselves think. Surveys about attitudes to marriage are patchy and subject to a lot of reservations. But for what it is worth, in a survey from 2011 of Japan’s three largest cities, only two-thirds of wives said they felt positive about their marriage, much less than their husbands; in America, both husbands and wives usually report higher and similar levels of satisfaction. In a survey from 2000, satisfaction levels in Japan were only half those in America. This may be because the readier availability of divorce in America has left fewer people trapped in loveless marriages. Or there may be something in the Japanese caricature of the salaryman husband working long hours and socialising all night and at weekends, while his neglected, fretful wife struggles to bring up the children at home.

Whatever the problem, it is not confined to Japan. Illyqueen, a popular Taiwanese blogger, recently ranted about “Mama’s boys” in their 30s who have had “no hardships, no housework, [and who] …have lost the ability to keep promises (like marriage).” If some Asian women do indeed have an unusually negative view of marriage, it might make them more likely to choose a job over a husband, or to put off marriage while they pursue a career.

Moreover, public attitudes and expectations are lagging far behind changes in women’s lives in Asia, making it even harder to strike a balance between life and work. Despite higher incomes and education, “women have lower socioeconomic status than men,” argues Heeran Chun, a South Korean sociologist. “Their lives are markedly restricted by the cultural values associated with Confucianism.” They are expected to give up work—sometimes on marriage, often after childbirth—and many do not return to the job market until their children are grown. This forces upon women an unwelcome choice between career and family. It may also help to explain the unusually low marriage rates among the best-educated and best-paid women, for whom the opportunity cost of giving up a career to have children is greatest.

As in most traditional societies, women in Asia have long been the sole caregivers for children, elderly parents or parents-in-law. People generally assume they will continue to be so, even though many women have paid jobs outside the home. The result is that expectations placed on wives have become unusually onerous. Surveys in Japan have suggested that women who work full-time then go home and spend another 30 hours a week doing the housework. Their husbands contribute an unprincely three hours of effort. In America and Europe the disparity is less extreme, and has narrowed considerably since the 1960s.

On top of this, many Asian couples face enormous pressure to ensure their children succeed in schools with cut-throat competition for places—pressure that falls mostly on the mother. Private child care is exorbitantly expensive. There are few state-subsidised crèches (324,000 children are on waiting lists in Seoul alone). And setting up a home is expensive because of high house prices. All this means it is harder to strike a satisfying balance between job and family in Asia than in the West.

The lost brides

Not every Asian country is affected by these trends equally. South Korea, for example, has lower rates of non-marriage, and a lower age of marriage, than its neighbours. But the big exceptions are Asia’s giants. At the moment, marriage is still the norm in China and arranged marriage the norm in India. As long as that continues to be true, a majority of Asians will live in traditional families. But how long will it continue? Signs of change are everywhere.

The mean age of marriage is rising in both countries. Divorce is increasing, especially among younger people. In India, traditional arranged marriages are being challenged by online dating (shaadi.com claims to be the world’s largest matrimonial service) and by “self-arranged marriages”, hybrids in which the couple meet, fall in love and agree to marry—but then let the two families fix everything up, as in traditional arranged marriages.

In China, the migration of millions of young men and women from the countryside to cities is changing family life profoundly. It has pushed up the divorce rate because migrant workers return home to find that they and their partners have grown apart. When the husband and wife go to the city together, either they choose not to bring their children with them (since both work full time) or they may not do so, since the hukou household-registration system prevents dependants from joining them. According to a survey in 2008 by the All-China Women’s Federation, 58m children of migrant workers were being brought up hundreds of miles away, in their parents’ village, usually by grandparents. The immediate family is no longer the universal setting for child-rearing in China.

More important, the marriage systems of both giants risk being torn apart in future by their practice of sex-selective abortion. Tens of millions of female fetuses have been aborted over the past generation, as parents use pre-natal screening to identify the sex of the fetus and then rid themselves of daughters. In China in 2010 more than 118 boys were born for every 100 girls. In India the ratio was 109 to 100. By 2030, according to Avraham Ebenstein of Harvard University and Ethan Sharygin of the University of Pennsylvania, about 8% of Chinese men aged 25 and older will be unable to marry because of the country’s distorted sex ratio. By 2050 the unmarried share will be 10-15%. In 2030, in the two giants, there will be 660m men between the ages of 20 and 50, but only 597m women. Over 60m men therefore face the prospect of not finding a bride. That is almost as many men of 20-50 as will be living in America in that year. This alone will wreck Asia’s tradition of universal marriage.

Parasites and bare branches

The big question remains: how much is this a problem? And if it is, why? Arguably, the most important thing is that women who do not want to marry are no longer being forced to. And that must be a benefit: to them, to men spared an unhappy marriage; perhaps to society as a whole.

Against that, there are several reasons for worry, some of them extremely disturbing. Social attitudes in Asia change slowly, and many people think it wrong to remain unmarried. “Parasite singles” is the unflattering term in Japan. The reluctance to marry seems to have unleashed spiteful hostility, an attitude that makes the decision not to wed a tough one.

Contraception is a particular problem. Several Asian countries restrict state-provided family planning to married couples. A few even demand to see the wedding certificate before dispensing condoms (that has happened in Europe, too). This is not a sensible policy when so many men and women will remain unmarried throughout their 20s and 30s.

Then there are the educational and social aspects of changing marriage patterns. Because women tend to marry up—that is, marry men in an income or educational group above them—any problems of non-marriage are not dispersed throughout society but concentrated in two groups with dim wedding prospects: men with no education and women with a lot.

Almost every East Asian country is worried about the decline of marriage among its best-educated daughters. In Singapore the government even set up an online-dating service, lovebyte.org.sg, to boost marriage rates among graduates. The problem is no less acute among poor or ill-educated men. South Korean women seem to be no longer interested in marrying peasant farmers, for instance.

China has coined new terms to describe the two groups: sheng-nu (left-over women) and guang gun (bare branches, or men who will not add to the family tree). “Bare branches” is most commonly used in China to refer to men who will be unable to marry because of sex-selective abortion. And that encapsulates the biggest worry about Asia’s flight from marriage. If (when?) it spreads to China and India, it will combine with the surplus of bachelors to cause unheard-of strains. Prostitution could rise; brides could be traded like commodities, or women forced to “marry” several men; wives could be kept in purdah by jealous, fearful husbands.

This may sound alarmist. But the reluctance of women to marry, together with men’s continuing desire for a wife, is already producing a surge of cross-border brides. According to “Asian Cross Border Marriage Migration”, a book edited by Melody Lu and Wen-Shan Yang (Amsterdam University Press), 27% of Taiwanese marriages in 2002 involved foreign women; one in eight births that year was to a “mixed” family. Many girls are illiterate teenagers sold (in practice) by their families to older, richer foreigners. Back in their home villages, therefore, young men’s marriage chances are lower. Arranged marriages with foreigners fell in Taiwan after the government cracked down on them, but they continue to rise elsewhere. In South Korea, one-seventh of marriages in 2005 were to “Kosians” (Korean-Asians). In rural areas, the share is higher: 44% of farmers in South Jeolla province who married in 2009 took a foreign bride. If China or India were ever to import brides on this scale, it would spread sexual catastrophe throughout Asia. As it is, that catastrophe may be hard to avoid.

There is an historical precedent for falling and low marriage rates. It happened in Ireland in the late 19th century and in America and much of Europe in the 1930s. American and European marriage rates bounced back between 1945 and 1970. But Europe and America were different: marriage rates fell during an economic crisis and recovered as the economy did. The Asian peculiarity is that marriage rates have been eroding during a long boom. And as Asia gets richer, traditional marriage patterns are only likely to unravel further.

Source: http://www.economist.com/node/21526329?frsc=dg|a