Subjective realities

Yesterday, the Inquirer reported that a certain group of people who go by the cause "anti-pornography" has filed a complaint against the MTRCB for allowing the showing of the movie Brokeback Mountain. The MTRCB gave the movie an R-18 rating which essentially makes it For Adults Only, meaning exactly that - only adults will be allowed to watch the movie. But the group is not happy with that – they think that even adults should not be allowed to decide for themselves what they can and can not watch.

See what happens when certain people are allowed to impose their moral standards on other people?

*** *** *** *** ***

In the Manila Standard Today, Antonio C. Abaya’s column says "from information divulged in the mainstream media, there seems little doubt now that the February 24-25 happenings were financed by no less than deposed President Joseph Estrada, with the express intention of overthrowing the incumbent government.

Abaya then writes about the subsequent subterfuge about making it appear that the money given were donations but he says "this looks like nothing but a disingenuous legal ruse to cloak the "donation" and its real purpose with a veneer of legality and noble intentions…"

Abaya writes further "…if this were a strong (and successful) republic like Malaysia or Singapore or South Korea or Taiwan or Thailand or Indonesia or Vietnam or China, theses legalistic ruses would not be believed at all by the government, by the media, or by the public.

*** *** *** *** ***

When people pontificate from a high moral perspective (which is truly often undeserved to begin with – I have learned from my parents that the people who profess to be so moral are often the ones with the most skeletons in the closet) they begin seeing and imagining all forms of evil. They are unable to distinguish the objective from the subjective reality.

As I said in the past, I stand by my letter and will not nitpick. However, I will go on record to say that I wrote that letter in an hour’s time and that I did not know then that it was going to be forwarded to everyone – and that had I known that, I would have rewritten that letter for better clarity and more style. That letter contains mixed metaphors and grammatical errors many of which have been so gleefully pointed out by critics already. But I will stand by the contents of that letter.

But there are many advocacy points I supposedly and allegedly made in that letter which are simply not there. So those who have pontificated immediately without even understanding and rereading the letter, read it again. I never made the claims that you said I made in that letter.

For example: I never asked people to shut up, or claimed to be have been silenced, or that I advocated submission, subjugation, or being weak or servile. I never claimed to speak up for everyone, for the middle class, for the silent majority. I never asked people to give up their rights and freedoms for progress. I did not kill Magellan nor did I shoot Ninoy Aquino. I also did not take that cookie from that jar.

I could go on and on and on. But then again, I know that at this point the moralists are already livid and would be calling me all kinds of names, all of which I would not be able to repeat to my mother.

They have made up their minds a long long time ago. So what is the point? I will now listen to tin and jher and the many many many others who have given me this good advice: ignore them.

*** *** *** *** ***

And to the two people who think they are pestering and annoying me with emails that continuously nitpick on anything I write in this blog but are too cowardly to post their names: Sirs, you are giving me too much importance and I am flattered and thrilled beyond words. But for your own sanity, I suggest you get a life.


jher said…
i read this from the comments section of the group who's organizing the very chic flash mob protest.



I do agree with the 2 emails going around. I share their sentiment. Forwarding these 2 emails is a form of protest against your views. Isn’t this how elagda started?

I joined EDSA 1 because as a young man just entering the work force, I was fully aware that Marcos is a repressive tyrant. I joined elagda at the height of Erap protest actions because I believed in what you did. Right now I am opposed to what you are doing. In the letter below, you have not offered us an alternative to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. An extra constitutional government (i.e. coups, juntas, etc) is not acceptable to us. The left has always been against anyone who seats as President. The Erap people have their own agenda so do the Poe people. Cory has a selfish agenda: Luisita. Imee and Cory as allies? How can you expect us to join these people?

You say GMA cheated. Was that ever proven? All we had was a lot of noise and accusations and counter accusations. We don’t even know if the tapes are genuine. Wiretapping is clearly against the law. Yet it was done. There is a hidden agenda to this and we do not subscribe to these manipulations. We don’t know who has done this. We are willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Not joining you and your noisy allies does not make me unconcerned about our country. I too am concerned about this country. I like this country to move forward but we cannot move forward if the opposition engages in destructive politics and pure self interest with the goal of grabbing power. In a democratic country like that of the USA, the opposition (Democrats) still works with a Republican President. They cooperate in passing bills that will benefit the United States (case in point: the recently concluded renewal of the Patriot Act). We do not have that type of an opposition. The opposition has opposed any bills that will benefit the country simply because it was initiated by GMA.

The mere fact that you do not get any huge numbers of people supporting your call is a clear indication that there are people with opposing viewpoints as you. How dare you judge us for not going to the streets? That Enteng is the height of arrogance. How dare you!

How dare you belittle our efforts in passing these 2 emails around. Lest you forget that was how elagda started.

You claim to have morality? Yet the people that you cavort with are without morals. Shame on you for claiming that you have the sole right to morality.

I do not agree with some of the policies GMA has made but I do agree that in the business and economic policies, she is trying to move this country forward. EO 1017 is repulsive to me but what is even more repulsive is the alternative.

Offer us a viable alternative then maybe we will join you.

From a fellow Rotarian:

PP Tonyboy Ongsiako

RC Makati South
alden said…
Hi Bong, I was very worried about you when I read in PCIJ blog that they wanted to silence you. Good know you are doing very well.
Anonymous said…
honestly, i dont agree with your open letter. and i know a lot of people who feel the same. honestly, i am certainly hoping for the sake of our country that the "many others" you are referring to in the beginning of your open letter, and people who think like you, are in the minority.

however, i will defend your right to say what you wanted to say.
jtagregado said…
talaga? two people are doing that to you? kawawa naman sila. well, at least, isa sila sa mga avid fans mo (at di nila pwede i-deny yun. may evidence naman na they are reading your blog eh lolz)

huh? ang babaw naman ng reason ng PCIJ na yan. buti sana if everyone is supporting whatever they wanted to prove...

hey ive read something posted sa email groups (you know what i am referring to) about you. well anyway, we just would like to know that we are just here (alam mo naman boto kami sa iyo eh whatever may happen haha). and well, ignore them na nga lang as per jher's advice :)
Anonymous said…
in connection with your great OPEN LETTER (we all thank you), i'd like to share this forwarded email piece, if you would allow:

Paano naman kaming mga productive middle-class Pinoys!

Ako ay isang middle class pinoy, isang officer sa isang malaking

korporasyon at may asawa...dalawa anak. Di na importante pangalan ko

parepareho naman tayong mga middle-class....trabaho 9-5, inom konti

uwi sa pamilya, laruin si baby, itutor si ate/kuya tapos tulog na, pag

na pera intay nalang ng sweldo.

Sa nangyayari ngayon sa ating bansa, lahat nalang ng sector ay maingay

naririnig, tayo lang mga middle-class, tax paying at productive Pinoys

di naririnig. Subalit, buwis natin ang nagpapaikot sa bansang ito. Pag

may mga gulo na nangyayari, tayo ang tinatamaan. Kaya eto ang liham ko

lahat ng maiingay na sector na sana makagising sa inyong bulag na


Sa Mga Politiko:

- diyos ko naman, sa dami na nang nakurakot ninyo di na ba kayo

kelangan nyo pa ba manggulo.

Sa Administrasyon:

- hayan ayus na ha pinatawad na namin ang pandaraya nyo sa eleksyon,

pruweba dito e di kami umaatend sa mga panawagan ng people power, kaya

naman gantihan nyo kami ng magandang serbisyo at magaling na pamumuno at

malaking bawas sa kurakot naman please para kahit papano maramdaman

namin na may napupuntahan ang binabayad naming buwis.

- saka Madam GMA, step down ka na pag parliamentary na tayo sa 2007,

mo, i-announce mo mag-step down ka kapag parliamentary na tayo,

YES yan sa plebiscite at tigil pa ang mga coup at people power laban

Try mo lang.........

Sa Oposisyon:

- di nyo pa ba nakikita na dalawang klase lang ng tao ang nakikinig sa

inyo....isa ay bayaran na mahihirap kungdi man ay tangang mga excited na

reporter na parang naka-shabu lagi....mga praning e at naghahallucinate.

- Bago man lang kayo maglunsad ng kilos laban sa administrasyon, pumili

muna kayo ng magiting at nararapat na ipapalit sa liderato ngayon.

sa inyo paresign kayo ng paresign wala naman kayo ipapalit na maayos.

Advise lang galing sa isang middle-class na syang tunay na puwersa sa

ng lahat ng matagumpay na People Power, magpakita muna kayo ng galing

nyo batuhin ang administrasyon. Wala na kaming narinig sa inyo kundi

reklamo, e wala naman kayong ginagawa kundi magreklamo....para kayong

batang lagi na lang naaagawan ng laruan.....GROW UP isip sa

salita at sa gawa.

- please lang gasgas na rin ang pagrarally nyo na katabi nyo ay mga

na mahihirap, magtayo nalang kayo ng negosyo at iempleyo ang mga

para maging productive silang mamamayan. Sige nga, pag nagrarally kayo

yakapin nyo nga at halikan yang mga kasama nyong nagrarally!! Nung

Power namin nagyayakapan kami lahat nuon.

- Wala naman mangyayari sa mga rally nyo nakakatraffic lang, kami pang

middle-class ang napeperwisyo. Di nyo kayang paghintayin ng 3 araw ang

rallyista nyo kasi kelangan nyo pakainin at swelduhan ang mga yan. Kung

gusto nyo tagumpay na People Power kami ang isama nyo....pero pagod na

e, sori ha.

Sa Military:

Alam nyo lahat tayo may problema, pati US Army may problema, 2,000 plus

patay sa kanila sa Iraq na parang walang rason naman, pero nakita nyo

sila nagreklamo? Wala diba kasi professional sila na sundalo.....yan

ang sundalo di nagtatanong sumusunod lang. Kasi may mga bagay na di

maintindihan ng indibidwal lamang, at ang mga nakatataas lang ang

nakakaintindi ng kabuuan, kaya ito ang panuntunan ng lahat ng military

lahat ng bansa. Pero parang military natin yata ang pinaka-mareklamo.

Sabi nga sa Spiderman "with great power comes great

responsibility".....kaya maging spiderman kayo lahat at protektahan ang

mamamayan. Sa totoo lang natatakot kami kapag nagrereklamo kayo, kasi

baril kayo at tangke, kami wala.

Wala ako comment sa mga mahihirap, di naman kasi sila maingay na kusa e,

may bayad ang ingay nila. Saka wala rin naman sila email.

Kaya paano na tayong mga middle-class?? Eto hanggang email nalang tayo

ikalat nyo na ito at magdasal tayo na umabot ito sa mga dapat makabasa

at makiliti naman ang kanilang mga konsyensya.


Isang Middle-Class pinoy na walang puknat na binabawasan ang sweldo ng


(i would like to apologize if you find it inappropriate for me posting this , i just did not find your email address, sir).respectfully.
Anonymous said…
hi, saw your blog mentioned in the PCIJ blog. maraming salamat...
jojo robles of the manila standard posted some email reactions he got after featuring your letter. there's plenty of us behind you and beside you, so don't lose faith. there's more of us that think the same as you than we're letting on. so, to all your detractors and attackers, sorry na lang sa inyo...hehehe...
Anonymous said…
Found out about this site just now. Hats off to your Open letter Bong! How some people reacted to it gives us a glimpse of the twisted logic these people have. I guess some Filipinos would rather wallow in pessimism and choose to be fatalistic. I'm saddened by the inconvenience and distress this courageous act is causing you, whatever it's worth, your letter serves as a counteweight that may just get us through this freaking situation. As you may have realized already, this country moves one agonizing day at a time.

Keep the faith Bong!

Leejay Tiotuico
d0d0ng said…
What can you expect from an angry man like Bong Austero?
But it is worth to examine as I did.

1st paragraph, he doesn’t want anybody especially Tita Cory & others to represent his rights.He simply ignore that application of government policy inherently applies to all. If Ate Glue violated freedom of the press in Tribune, it is meant as an example to people like him once he turns against the government.

2nd paragraph, he vocalized that silence is a response. Typical of kids, as if silence can telegraph accurately ones messages. Another kiddie stuff, is leave him alone coz his rights are not at peril.

3rd paragraph, he had chosen to see Ate Glue’s perspective at the same time asking forgiveness. This is similar to Ate Glue’s admission and asking forgiveness as rhetoric.

4th paragraph, he had dispensed forgiveness easily to Ate Glue as he is convinced that Ate Glue had done nothing wrong at all.

5th paragraph, he believed that the political scene can result into bloody fight.

6th paragraph, he doesn’t trust anybody especially those against the government who started the fight.

7th paragraph, he believed that those against government are destroying the country. He cannot see that destruction started from within the government covering up her corruption and illegitimacy.

8th paragraph, he categorized that all those against the government as one and the same.

9th paragraph, he cast lot with lesser evil the government.

10th paragraph, he believed that those against the government are bullies. He forgot that bullies usually have power (like the government) that like to display to intimidate opponents.

11th paragraph, he can respect those who are willing to go to jail at the same time he had forgotten those who were arrested.

12th paragraph, he believed that opponents wanted to bring down the government (lesser evil)

13th paragraph, he believed that being silent can solve corruptions.

14th paragraph, he believed that seeking redress for corruptions is a graver threat than corruption itself and he needs protection from that.

tintin said…
hi bong. i have learned long ago that you can never please everybody, no matter how hard you try or explain your side. hindi ka naman nag-iisa sa mga hinaing mo. a lot of people share your sentiments. tingnan lang natin kung hanggang saan talaga aabot yung protest movement nila. i wonder how the "let's sakay the MRT and make thumbs down the administration" protest will turn out. today yun di ba? abangan...
george said…

If you have chosen lesser evil, it is still evil.

You just confirmed that President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is evil and your blog is advertising that to the whole world much less bringing down the Philippines as a nation.

You are doing as much damage as the opponents of your government believing your president is evil.

Thank you for your lesser evil president.

That says a lot! said…
seriously bong, sa tingin mo ba kung walang bumabatikos kay GMA uunlad ang pinas? or dodoble ang pangungurakot niya? i'm not looking for a fight bong, and i hope you don't see me as a moralist. i just think that the filipinos deserves a healthy system of checks and balances (which GMA undermined with EO464, PP1017 and CPR).
Anonymous said…
george - bong's blog is advertising that gma is evil and bringing down the philippines as a nation? his blog can bring down a nation? it can actually do that? omg bong you are so going to hell for doing that. LOL.

oh the funny things you people come up with.
jtagregado said…
goodness. somebody even went as far as doing an analysis of your letter per paragraph... maybe he has too much time in his hands...(or simply have nothing much to do than to mind other people's business).
Anonymous said…
bong, can I nitpick? the proper spelling of "can not" is "cannot." No space in between! cheers :-)
Lori - just moved to Laguna Niguel, CA said…
you just wrote down exactly and completely what I wanted to tell those politicians who are being paid out of our tax money and not doing any good for the country and people who allowed themselves to be used and exploited by these power-hungry men.
suigeneris said…
I'm not expecting this comment to be posted on your blog coz I think you mostly choose to post only those comments that favor you. I cannot however blame you for that, as you've said, this is your blog.

When I read your blog, I became upset..upset at the thought that some Filipinos have that line of thinking like yours. I am not concluding that President Arroyo is guilty, but all circumstantial evidences point that she cheated during the last Presidential elections and the fact that her actions are now directed in making sure that she remains in power and the truth be supressed is truly questionable and alarming. Her refusal to answer all these issues squarely and submit herself to scrutiny is what enrages me. Public office is a public trust, and she should be accountable to all her actions, including on why she called Garci. If she refuses to do so, she should be removed from office.

You talk about choosing the lesser evil, the realities of the situation, lack of alternatives and even hitting on those disruptive rallies. You find those rallies annoying, but not a cheating

I would not hesitate changing my President every even every day if he/she cannot prove to me that he/she has the required high moral standards to occupy the post. When you let your pessimism get the better of you and throw away your idealism on how a leader should be when you settled for the "lesser evil," what would prevent a thief, a criminal, or those crocodiles from vying for the Presidency and draining our coffers and violating our rights? However, if we show them that we will not tolerate ANY misdeeds from our public officials, those who are seated in power would think twice before calling Garci. Unlike you, I will never get tired until I find the right President for my country.

I would never tolerate any cheating President and I would never compromise with the devil. I don't know about you, but I'm glad that I do not know you personally coz it would be a shame. I pity your students and hope their idealism would not be infuenced by your standards on what a public official should be.
dan said…

Ang galing ng liham mo! Natumbok mo. Sang-ayon ako sa views mo. Thumbs up.

Mabuhay ka!

Anonymous said…
Hi bong,

My hats off to you. I fully agree with the open letter and now, thank you for verbalizing what i also feel in how your letter came to be. You're terrific Bong. Even then, you were really a very good writer.

When I read your full name, ikaw nga si Bong who I know way back in LIDE. This is Gean Diopenes but I'm not familiar with blogs so I have to send this as anomymous.
Sista said…
I gouldn't agree with you more Mr. Austero. Pragmatism must give to idealism considering the context of the situation. The elections was unfair in the first place. How can a good, intelligent candidate win in the Phil. if pitted against a very popular actor? We'll always have actors as elected officials if we don't do anything about the system.
We should pass a bill to regulate the voters. There should also be requirements for voters. Let's write to our congressmen and senators to do something about this before the congress and the senators are saturated by former actors!
Anonymous said…
suigeneris - so you are actually wrong coz your entry is obviously here?
Just glad and relieved there's you to rely on to put into writing what the real silent majority feels and thinks. I always say, " Amo gud ini it akon buot sig-ngon!" while reading your blogs, especially the sensational, controversy-igniting breakthrough ( excuse my choice of words!) letter to our leaders." This latest one provides another catharsis for me. On a humorous note,the more I read you, the more I want to set you up with my lovely daughter. Kidding! By the way, that was me who commented on CDQ; and was I pleased that it was posted.
Anonymous said…
... and i pity those who would live by the "by all means necessary" rule, those who are willing to see rome burn down just to see nero at the stake, those who have no viable option to offer to the students other than a "council" of their choice made up of their friends and like-minded allies, those who think the problem lies in one person or one bunch of comelec officials and not of the whole system that may or may not but i fervently believe it may include those they call comrades....

just who is compromising with the devil ba talaga? you only have to look at your shoulder to see where the devil is.

to the author:
thanks for putting into well-written words what we have felt. i hope those that disagree with you also go past the name-calling (ate glue, dwarf, dwende, etc....) childish indeed.
Teazer Man said…
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Anonymous said…
Sir Bong, bakit daw galit ka sa mga protesters at hindi ke GMA sabi sa column ni Rina David? Sa totoo lang bayad naman ang mga yon e. P300 per rally tapos pag na-batuta P500. Kaya kung gusto mong maka P500, mambato ka, manipa ka, murahin mo ng husto yun mga pulis hanggang sa mapikon. Pag hinuli ka, magpumiglas ka ng husto para kaladkarin ka, Tiyak front page ka saka headline sa TV, me P500 pa. Kaya nakakagalit tong mga to kasi sila din ang nalulubog dahil sa pagpapagamit nila sa mga promotor ng mga rally. Binayaran nga sila ng P500 di niya alam pati kinabukasan ng mga anak at apo niya, nilagay na niya sa alanganin. E baka naman kaya ayaw nitong mga kolokoy na to na umasenso ang Pilipinas e dahil hindi sila kasali (ayaw naman sumali) o ayaw nilang si GMA ang makagawa nito (gusto makaganti). Parang mga bata ano? Kaya lang, di lang candy o tex ang nakataya dito e kundi Kinabukasan ng sambayanang Pilipino. Ang mga mayayaman, kakayanin yan, ang mga burgis makakaraos pa din, pero ang masa, yung mga binabayaran nila para kumapal ang mga rally, tatamaan agad, kakapusin, magugutom. Maghihintay na naman ng sasalihang rally para kumita ng kaunting pera. Wag lang matatakbuhan ng organizer.
Anonymous said…
Bong, just keep saying what you want to say. I must thank you for actually doing it for us. The reason why I forwarded your letter to all in my address book is that it's like me talking, mas articulate nga lang. The others are right, ignore the pesky naysayers of yours, the glaring truth is that...THEY CAN'T GET US ON THEIR SIDE HANGGANG NGAYON!
Thank you again, we're behind you (many of us here in my office and home and neighborhood etc.) and thank God you're head is glued in the right place, aside from the fact that you have such priceless grey matter in that space between your ears (hahaha!)
Ok, am a 40-something mom of 5, a research-scientist here in UP Los Banos and just got my introduction to this BLOG thing! Keep it up, my dear, you have everything to be proud of.
Yours, Jo Labios
Anonymous said…
Here’s an IDEA

I think the people addressed in the open letter have not felt or are still not convinced on the magnitude that this letter has resulted. Why don’t we send it to them via SNAIL MAIL? Yes, to each and everyone of them: To Tita Cory, The Congress, The Senate, The Media (ABS-CBN…maybe) and the Leftists.

I hope we could get all the addresses needed so we could start mailing. For us to be identified let us be uniform and use a plain white envelope and a short bond paper.

What do you think?
Anonymous said…
Here’s an IDEA

I think the people addressed in the open letter have not felt or are still not convinced on the magnitude that this letter has resulted. Why don’t we send it to them via SNAIL MAIL? Yes, to each and everyone of them: To Tita Cory, The Congress, The Senate, The Media (ABS-CBN…maybe) and the Leftists.

I hope we could get all the addresses needed so we could start mailing. For us to be identified let us be uniform and use a plain white envelope and a short bond paper.

What do you think?
Anonymous said…
Here’s an IDEA

I think the people addressed in the open letter have not felt or are still not convinced on the magnitude that this letter has resulted. Why don’t we send it to them via SNAIL MAIL? Yes, to each and everyone of them: To Tita Cory, The Congress, The Senate, The Media (ABS-CBN…maybe) and the Leftists.

I hope we could get all the addresses needed so we could start mailing. For us to be identified let us be uniform and use a plain white envelope and a short bond paper.

What do you think?
Anonymous said…
Here’s an IDEA

I think the people addressed in the open letter have not felt or are still not convinced on the magnitude that this letter has resulted. Why don’t we send it to them via SNAIL MAIL? Yes, to each and everyone of them: To Tita Cory, The Congress, The Senate, The Media (ABS-CBN…maybe) and the Leftists.

I hope we could get all the addresses needed so we could start mailing. For us to be identified let us be uniform and use a plain white envelope and a short bond paper.

What do you think?
Anonymous said…
Hi Bong,

You really got what it takes to be one of our voice for the sielnt majority!Keep it up!

Ricky of Canada!

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