Top 12 Things I Could Have Learned In the Last Three Weeks

If I did not have a brain, the following are lessons I could have learned in the last three weeks.

1. A brain drain in the fields of psychiatry and psychology is something this country will never suffer from. It is a great relief to know that there exist so many experts in these fields of specialization and I have been truly blessed to have been the subject of so much analysis - my motivational factors, the state of my mental state, my IQ, and even the state of my sex life have all been sufficiently analyzed. Dra. Margie Holmes and Dr. Randy Dellosa need not have to worry about having me as their patient ever, I have had enough analysis to last me a lifetime.

2. When people disagree with you, they do not necessarily just have a different perspective. They are 101% absolutely right. Therefore, you are automatically stupid and a moron. But when they actually call you those things, they refuse to see it as being judgmental either. They call it freedom of expression. They think their opinions are bible truth - as if they have a 24-hour hotline to God.

3. The Darth Vader principle is alive and well in this country: if you are for them, you are a friend. If you are against them, you are their enemy. Forget that crap about "just being for yourself" or about "simply expressing yourself" there are no such things. It is all a matter of being on the same side.

4. Despite the preponderance of evidence, despite the open admission of Bro. Eddie Villanueva and Senator Ping Lacson that they were offered a seat in the proposed junta, there was no conspiracy to overthrow the government through extra-constitutional processes last February. When Cory Aquino went to Fort Bonifacio to "pray" at the height of a military struggle it is was still consistent with her avowed stand that she will always support constitutional processses. A military takeover is not sufficient reason to feel threatened.

5. Even if you are the author of something (e.g., a letter, a blog entry), you are not necessarily the best source of what you intended to say in what you wrote. There will always be other people who are in a better position to interpret for you what you meant in what you wrote. Therefore, to other people, it doesn't matter what you write, what is important is what they see in what you write. Therefore, writing is about pampering to other people's wishes.

6. Freedoms and rights are absolute concepts. These concepts have no limits, no boundaries, no responsibilities attached to them. They are privileges and they do not have to be earned at all. They are there to be wantonly abused by anyone and everyone. Anyone can stand in the middle of EDSA and cause a major traffic jam for two hours to express his or her right. Anyone can say anything anywhere. There are no rules of libel, oral defamation, or basic rules of civility and courtesy.

7. The real state of the country is not measured in terms of what is really happening "out there." It doesn't matter that there are millions of Filipinos out there who are doggedly trying to make things work by working their asses off to build a nation. It is all about what media "sees." Therefore, the only things that Filipinos are preoccupied with on a day to day basis is demonstrating and ranting about the government, bludgeoning each other, taking shabu, watching celebrities inside a glass house, etc. There are no good things happening in this country. We are in a state of anarchy.

8. Just because people do not wear black while taking coffee at Starbucks or do not feel like extending their thumbs in a downward gesture, they are apathetic. Just because we do not feel like linking arms with Imee Marcos and Dinky Soliman, we are unpatriotic. Just because we are not out in the streets, we are reactionary fools who have no principles, no morals, no values.

9. Having feelings is a crime if what you are feeling happens to be different from those of others. Ergo, never say you are angry, you run the risk of being called stupid, egocentric, reactionary, weak, unpatriotic. You are not entitled to your feelings.

10. Grammatical mistakes, bad sentence construction, mixed metaphors are indicative of what kind of person you are. If you make a grammatical slip, the whole weight of your ideas automatically becomes suspect. And it doesn't matter that they themselves commit grammatical hara kiri every other sentence, it is not about them, it is about you.

11. Just because there are dumb people in the cabinet - government officials who overreact and make martyrs out of other people who are masters at the game called "how to gain media mileage and elicit public sympathy," many Filipinos do not reach for the remote switch everytime the handsome countenance of Chiz Escudero, or the pretty face of Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, or the rainbow-streaked hair of Dinky Soliman appear on television. Yeah, we loooooooooove these people to bits, we prefer watching them over some Korean actors. Thus, Koreanovellas rate lower than the news.

12. Everyone can be bought. Everyone is a paid hack. When a group of people pool money to be able to publish that letter in some newspapers, when people forward that letter because they agreed with it, when people print copies of that letter to distribute to others who have no access to the net, they are paid hacks of Malacanang.

Fortunately, and despite what others would like to think and believe, I am really not that stupid. Well, maybe just a little. After all, I persist in writing about these things instead of watching pirated DVDs (which by the way, is not cheating according to many people).

And oh, there is one thing I did learn in the last few weeks.

I am not alone. That was one lesson that struck me many times.

And oh, there is a 14th lesson that I am sure I am bound to learn after this entry is posted: there will be people who will insist that the personal lessons I have learned are wrong and would insist that I apologize for them.

If they hate me so much, I wonder why they keep on reading me?


cvj said…
Bong, i read your blog because i'm interested in finding out why you and the people you represent see the same things as everyone but have come to very different conclusions. As one of the commenters said the other day, 'Your letter didn't shape people as much as it described how some people feel. That is why it is so powerful.' You can pretty much discount any personal snark as it reflects more on those making the attacks than on the intended target. However, i believe it's your social responsibility to examine your ideas and reflect carefully on where it is leading us. From what i've seen so far, the discussion has centered more about feelings than on ideas, which in itself also says something.
pinoy said…
They keep on reading you because you are a threat to them. So everytime somethings comes out of your keyboard, they need to rebutt as they have seen you as a pakawala ng malacanang.

They keep on reading you because your letter has created quite a stir while theirs has not. is that riding on your pseudo fame s you call it?

They keep on reading you because if your are not with them, you are against them. Therefore you are an enemy. Their enemy becomes necessarily the friend of their other enemy.
VINI and muning said…
This is Bong's space. He can write whatever he feels like writing. It's his option if he reflects on it. I do think the readers of this blog can think for themselves. Just like you cvj, we're intelligent beings.
Anonymous said…
Hello Bong,

You’re 101% right. You’re not alone. This is the reason they hate you (?) and what you write.

They who hate this administration want to prove right the survey, that 80% of Filipinos believe that GMA lied, blah, blah and that 60% want her out of office. Much to their dismay whenever you express your sentiments, many come and agree with your perspective. Then it comes down on them that indeed the warm bodies that they desire to embody the surveys are not just out there.

The harsh, judgmental words that come out of them are a reflection of desperation in their cause. I wonder why they fail to realize that the more they insult people, the more they turn off rational and critical thinking people; that after two EDSA’s people had wise up to surveys and the game of perception. And, by golly, those who are colored red want to turn us color blind.

I am sorry for the pelting but I must say keep on Bong. You are doing a service to Filipinos who are not as articulate as the anti-government propagandists. For when your articles become our mouthpiece, you are doing service to this country in preventing “endlessly quarrelling, inherently incompatible, power-mad machos take over, and turning the Philippine Republic into the FUBAR Republic: F**ked Up Beyond All Recognition.” (this quote is from Mr. Antonio C. Abaya of Manila Standard).
Anonymous said…
Why are you harping on bong's social responsibilities? What about yours?? He's doing more than most of us working with the Remedios Aids Foundation. But even so, who are we to point at another and say "It's your social responsibility...."

Sino ka ba? Did you ever think of YOUR social responsibility. What a bunch of crap...

See, this is the very thing that gets a lot of people turned off - the arrogance!
Anonymous said…
just be yourself! Dont be discouraged by stupid people mascarading as intellectuals.
the SHOE said…
Anthony Scalia said…
Poster CVJ said:

"From what i've seen so far, the discussion has centered more about feelings than on ideas, which in itself also says something."

Maybe those who expressed feelings just wanted to say amen to the open letter, and never felt the need to discuss Bong's ideas.

Strangely, those who disagree with Bong also refuse to discuss the ideas in his open letter. Or consider his ideas, that for all they know, Bong could be right. (The Black and White Movement could be right too)

What is wrong with the willingness to lose freedoms, just to push the country forward?

The anti-GMA people seem to prefer risking the creation of millions of jobs, just to kick her out of office.

It seems that for the anti-GMA people, if you are not for her removal, you must be pro-GMA (on this, may magagawa ba tayo, officially, siya ang nanalo, so we are stuck with her till 2010)

What is wrong with - (1) lets make the best of a GMA-till-2010 situation and (2) its possible to propel our country forward even with Ate Glue around in Malacañang.
tintin said…
hi bong! i saw you on anc last night. now, you're really famous! :)
hi, bong! i saw your interview in ANC. i'm so proud of you. my mom and i watched it and she was so with you. you kicked ass! keep it up. (wag lalaki ang ulo dahil sikat na. hahaha!)
cvj said…
Anonymous, you are right to criticize me as stupid for challenging the social responsibility of a person who belongs to the Remedios Aids Foundation. However, his letter does not bear the stamp of that institution and may be used for whatever purposes its recipients deem fit. Because of this, clarifications coming from Bong as to its proper use, as he has came out with in the previous entries and in his interview are most welcome.

Anthony Scalia, losing freedoms means an actual person on the receiving end of State oppression. It may be people we do not like, but they are people nonetheless. Venting feelings is fine, but ideas are the true benchmark. The millions of jobs that you speak of are not necessarily tied to GMA, only to the violence that she may beget. Yes, Bong could be right, he could also be wrong. We cannot speak in certainties only in terms of conviction based on probabilities.
Anonymous said…
Mabuhay ka Bong! Sana matauhan na mga detractors mo....Lagi ko kong tinitingnan blog mo kasi mas makabuluhan ang mga isinusulat mo kesa manood ako ng ANC.. Pasalamat na lang maganda ang teleseryeng SA PILING MO dahil kundi papa-disconnect ko na lang TFC namin dito sa QATAR... paggawa lang yata ng teleserye ang FORTE nila eh...
gabriel allon said…
Hey dude!

I read somewhere(actually in Philstar) and also here that you were interview on anc. How did that go? Can't wait to read your blog on this. Hope you or someone else got to record it so you could upload it somewhere for us to see and appreciate.

You are the voice of reason in the midst of intrigue, backbiting, and hearsay. For as long as the opposition(and their lackeys) continue to call you names and throw derogatory epithets at you, we all know that you have hit it on the money. the truth..thats what its all about

keep it up:-)
gabriel allon said…
Hey dude!

I read somewhere(actually in Philstar) and also here that you were interview on anc. How did that go? Can't wait to read your blog on this. Hope you or someone else got to record it so you could upload it somewhere for us to see and appreciate.

You are the voice of reason in the midst of intrigue, backbiting, and hearsay. For as long as the opposition(and their lackeys) continue to call you names and throw derogatory epithets at you, we all know that you have hit it on the money. the truth..thats what its all about

keep it up:-)
Amadeo said…
This is arguably a witty narrative, though in a circumspect sort of way. I suppose the circumstances make it inevitable.

As a friendly advice, I suggest Mr. Austero shield himself with some kind of Teflon vest to minimize the personal “dents” arising out of these uncharitable criticisms and analyses.

One recommended “vest” could be:

“What can any one do against thee by his words or injuries? He rather hurts himself than thee, ..” – 2 Mach. VII.35.

The ready accessibility and ubiquity of present-day media (blogs included) have made it possible for any and every eager participant to bounce out of the woodworks and join in the excitement.

Thinking aloud. If blogging and commenting on blogs involved “considerable” personal costs, with very minimal expectations of returns, one wonders how on-line discussions would be shaped.
Anonymous said…
Hi Bong. Do continue articulating what most of us are "feeling". I am living abroad and the antics of those clowns (Dinky,B & W, Cory etc) have exasperated...nay-disgusted me no end. I am glad that there are still sane Filipinos back home.
jec_ailes said…
"don't let the bastards grind you down"
Gods Gifts said…
We are with you Bong! Dont mind those bogarts!!!! (Bugarot) our term for those useless fish!!
Pingkian said…
Hi Bong,

Just like cvj, I decided to visit and participate in your blog because I’m sincerely interested and I want to understand and learn from those whose views and values differ from mine for indeed your views and feelings towards certain issues represent a significant sector of the society. I’ve read your much talked about open letter. It was well written. My beloved sister who somehow shares your feelings even forwarded the same letter to my wife, perhaps with an end view of dissuading me from being an active participant in resolving the issue of GMA’s legitimacy. However, being a blogger yourself and a host at that, expect to be challenged and unfairly maligned.

I myself initially dismiss you as one of those paid hacks of Malacañang and in fact as I have read in your blog, Malacañang has already been using your open letter contrary perhaps to what you intend it to be. The issue at hand is not only societal (sovereign will, freedom, democracy, justice, peace, and common good) but also something that is very personal to each one of us, fundamental values that can not be compromised such as honesty and integrity. As such, your motivations will be questioned being especially by those who don’t know you and who does not share your feelings and values as a prerequisite to have a meaningful dialogue, otherwise “magbobolahan lang tayo.” The mere fact that I visited blog is an acknowledgement of deep my respect to your views. I encourage you keep on blogging and to continue on hosting us visitors. In a sense, you are also helping us to sharpen and polish our position. Reading your blogs, I realize that there are still openings for further dialogue. But perhaps to the dismay and inconvenience of others, together with others, I’ll continue to build on the pressure until GMA steps down.
Anonymous said…
The first part of your blog started me laughing. The middle part of the blog turned me somber. The last part of the blog made me angry -- not at you stated, but at the reaction of the people who state that they are working for the good of the country. Maybe the best thing for the country is for those who doth protest too much, to act more than orate. To show results, more than pontifocate. To resign and give those who really want to help a change to help.
Anonymous said…
The first part of your blog started me laughing. The middle part of the blog turned me somber. The last part of the blog made me angry -- not at you stated, but at the reaction of the people who state that they are working for the good of the country. Maybe the best thing for the country is for those who doth protest too much, to act more than orate. To show results, more than pontifocate. To resign and give those who really want to help a change to help.
pinoy said…
I don't think this is about "we are with you, we are against them" thing. we are all on the same boat, the same goal, a better Philippines. We simply differ on how to get there. I believe the division caused by the letter should not be magnified. Instead, we must all search for a common ground on how to have a country that we can all be proud of.
Anonymous said…
Hey Bong. How about some lessons that your critics can learn. Let me start:

1. Do not hold a rally in Makati and expect press reports to shape the opinion of people. This is an unrealistic expectation because:

a. People are in buildings, so they can look down and actually see how many people are in the rally. Not that many...

b. In case you do get enough people in the rally to impress the Makati folk. The Makati folk still need to walk the streets to go home, so they can see that your rallyists are probably being compensated for their presence. How can we tell? Maybe the blank stares?

c. Since people see the real size of your rallies and the individuals who compose it, and you piss them off by inconveniencing them, it's inevitable that emails will start flying. Sometimes you don't even have to write the email, you just forward it. :)

2. If lesson 1 isn't so obvious, below are the ideal conditions for a rally.

a. No buildings. If nobody can look down on a rally the size of the rally can never be determined, so you can throw out a number and nobody can contest it. This also implies that there are no helicopters.

b. No witnesses, except for "friendly press". This way you can keep the cost of the rally down, since you don't have to compensate so many people. You can then channel these funds to motivating your "friendly press". As an alternative you can have impartial witnesses, but you need to give your rallyists more training. Like how to project conviction and etc. Of course this will drive your costs up.

c. Best of all there will be no flying emails. Since you don't motivate people to write or forward them you don't have to worry about this. So your press will have the sole eye witness account of what happened there. Assuming people still read them.

I think freedom parks fit this description...

Please add additional insights here.
Anonymous said…
Please don't fall into the trap of follow the leader. Bong has articulated what a lot of us feel. Now what are we going to do about it? Are we just going to go on blogging all our lives? Or shall we start taking small steps and put some action behind our words?
Abuyog Blogger said…
Hello Bong!

I'm so proud to see you on TV being interviewed! Moreso, im proud that a fellow abuyognon is known for his courage!

Keep up the good work!
cvj said…

Would you be willing to affix your signature on this proposed resolution ( If now is not the time, when? Just asking.

"Whereas, under the Constitution the Republic of the Philippines, sovereignty resides exclusively in the people;

Whereas, under the Constitutions and the laws of the Republic, the citizenry has been empowered to initiate and approve resolutions as a basic means of expressing the sense and opinions of the people, whether on local or national issues;

Whereas, the President of the Philippines, by her actions and behavior, has disgraced her office, cast her position and legitimacy into disrepute, divided her people, and refused all reasonable petitions from the public to be held accountable for her actions;

Whereas, the time has come for the people to reclaim for themselves the power to be heard by those elected into office, from the humblest barangay official to the President of the land;

Now therefore be it resolved, as it is hereby resolved, by the people of _________ that we wish it known that,

We, the sovereign Filipino people, do hereby resolve and make it known to all, that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo no longer enjoys the trust and confidence of the people, and that we, the people of _________, hereby withdraws our support from her administration.
Pingkian said…
Anonymous, it saddens me that I made you angry. Nonetheless, I won’t be angry with you and would continue to respect your views, it’s your right, despite your seeming sarcasm. It’s just very difficult to proceed with a meaningful dialogue if we can’t be at least civil with each other.

Yes Pinoy, we are on the same boat. I agree with you when you said that “this is not about who are with us and who we are against us; that we have the same long term goals for the country, but simply differ on how to get there." I believe that Bong A do not intend this to be a forum of people who share the same views but rather a venue where we can share and exchange our ideas (similar/ complementary/ reinforcing and conflicting/ contrary/ contradicting ideas). I just hope that we can be always be respectful.

Perhaps we can start our meaningful discussion with some facts we can agree on and on the basic premise of Pinoy – what’s best for our country. Nonetheless, this is Bong’s blog site. He can bar anybody as he sees fit.
Anonymous said…
I didn't call you stupid.

IMO, AT THIS POINT, the issues hounding us should not be viewed from a values or morality standpoint - those are too personal and varies with every individual. I say if we can all follow traffic rules and have our raodways working like a German autobahn is when we start talking about values. We all contributed to this problem, in our own little way. So let's drop the values and morality fingerpointing, please, cause it won't get us anywhere.

Our differences are basically in the RESOLUTIONS we are looking at. We all want the same things, let's just work to get there with as little destructive fallout to our country's future and to the most vulnerable of our population - the poor.
Taga-Iyam said…
I watched all the original interview and the two other times, the interview was replayed. And the three times I watched it, I sure agree with you more and more. People in the Philippines need to be more aware of the bullying that politicians do to each other. There are so many of them who still cannot differentiate between rights/freedom and privilege.Most of them are just abusing the privilege to our rights and freedom.
cvj said…
i see, got you confused with the other anonymous.
cvj said…
Anonymous (the one who responded to Pingkian), we cannot determine the resolutions, an individual is typically too small to do that. We can only control who we are and how we react to events. (For the record, i'm against coups but am in favor of rallies, the bigger the better.)
lateralus said…
i could just imagine the looks on those people's faces after they read this post. hahahahahaha.

and yeah, eddie villanueva is the worst thing that has ever happened to our country.
Anonymous said…
Hi, cvj. Im in favor of rallies, too. The right to assemble for the redress of grievances is a protected right. But as events prior to Feb 25 showed, there was a conspiracy to USE the rallies to stage a coup. The organizers of the rallies knew this. They KNEW it. That's why Im waiting for the leaders of these mass actions to proclaim, clearly and publicly, that they denounce any form of military intervention. ANY form of military intervention. So far, no takers, so Im staying put. :-)

-- Jeg
Anonymous said…
i'm not a pessimist. individuals can determine resolutions. everything started as one man's thought. i'm not an idealistic fool, but i know for certain we can be proactive and make a difference in the world. i'm a realist and I know that time and time again, this theory of one man making a difference has been proven.
anonymous #1`
cvj said…
anonymous#1, that's good to hear as there's a chance that one of these days we'll find ourselves on the same [beleaguered] side.
Anonymous said…
cvj, mmm....i doubt it, beleaguered is not my style.

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