Monday, February 27, 2017

Abu Sayyaf jihadists behead German hostage in video

Is the Philippines a civilized country?  Because no civilized country in the world would continually allow terrorists to operate within its borders.

Abu Sayyaf has been causing terror in the Philippines for far too long and now they have beheaded another foreign hostage.  From Reuters:
The Philippines on Monday condemned the "barbaric beheading" of a German captive by Islamic State-linked Abu Sayyaf militants, who posted a video of the killing after a deadline for a $600,000 ransom passed.

The video showed a machete-wielding militant behead the elderly German hostage, Jurgen Kantner, who had appealed for help twice in short video messages, saying he would be killed if ransom was not paid.

Jesus Dureza, presidential adviser on the Philippine peace process, said officials had exhausted all efforts to save Kantner, who was held on the tiny southern island of Jolo, but to no avail.

"We grieve as we strongly condemn the barbaric beheading of yet another kidnap victim," Dureza said in a statement.

"...Terrorism has no place in a country like ours and we as a people must confront violent extremism every time it rears its ugly head. There must be a stop to this killing of the innocent and the helpless."

What's it going to take for the Philippine government to realise they are at war?  This group has pledged loyalty to ISIS and is not backing down for anyone. Limp-wristed rhetoric will accomplish nothing.  This terrorist group only speaks the language of violence.  How many more innocent civilians must die?

Read the Wikipedia page for this group.  They are a violent lot of criminals who deserve no mercy.  The whole southern region is infested with Muslim terrorists of all stripes fighting for the overthrow of the Philippines government and the implementation of an Islamic State.

It is time for the wholesale destruction of ALL terrorist groups and their supporters in the Philippines.  BIFFMILFMNLFthe Maute Group, and Abu Sayyaf all need to go. Here's a suggestion:  firebomb the whole area and don't tell anyone about it beforehand. Simply take your aircraft and bomb these terrorists straight to Hell. Take no prisoners and do not negotiate any terms of surrender. Kill them all.

Ending the war these groups have started is way more important than stopping the flow of shabu.  In fact the two go hand-in-hand.
"New evidence indicates that shabu also plays a role in the Philippines’ increasingly troublesome Islamic militancy problem, particularly in the recruitment and funding of the Abu Sayyaf Group. 
With no known source of funding, the Abu Sayyaf Group has traditionally relied on kidnapping and extortion to generate revenue for its terrorist operations; however, the organization is suspected of involvement in the country’s illegal drug trade.
Abu Sayyaf is said to be behind drug proliferation operations in ZamBaSulTa, which covers Zamboanga, Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi.
Former hostages told the JTFS that they had seen Abu Sayyaf militants taking and distributing shabu in their camps." 

Observations on Filipinos from 1906

In 1906 the United States Congress was debating the "Philippine Tariff Bill" which would have reduced tariffs on imports or granted free trade exclusively.  Ultimately the bill was killed.

In the course of the debate over the "Philippine Tariff Bill" House member Nicholas Longworth, recently returned from a trip to the Philippines, spoke before the House and gave his opinion on the Philippines and the Filipino people.

His remarks were recorded in the New York Times edition of January 13, 1906.

Washington, Jan. 12 - The Philippine tariff debate in the House today was enlivened by the appearance asa speaker of Representative Nicholas Longworth of Ohio, the fiancé of Miss Alice Roosevelt. Mr. Longworth gave the result of his observations of the Filipinos on the celebrated trip colloquially known as the “Taft matrimonial excursion,” whereon he wooed and won the President’s daughter. 
“I liked the Filipino better when I had read of him than I do now that I have seen him,” he remarked. “I like him the better in the abstract than I do in the concrete.”
Everybody listened to Mr. Longworth with a profound attention not often granted to speakers as little eloquent as he is. 
“I differ with my colleague Gen. Grosvenor,” he began, “as to the brilliant future before the Philippines and the noble character of the Filipino people. I cannot believe there is any brilliant future for them and with the exception of their love for family and home I cannot find anything noble in their character. I for one am not in favour of holding the islands a moment anger than we absolutely have to. [Applause on both sides of the Chamber.] I am in favour of turning them over to the Philippine nation at the first moment they prove to us they are capable of governing themselves, and the sooner the better.” 
The applause was a little premature, for Mr. Longworth next proceeded to show the Filipinos up as hopeless cases. 
“There are two prime characteristics of the Filipinos” he said, “which today render them absolutely unfit for self-government. The average Filipino mind can form no conception of the duty of officials to the people, and it can form no conception of the dignity of labor. The very fact that the Filipino is so shiftless, so worthless, so untrustworthy, and so helpless is all the more reason this Nation should reach out the helping hand to him.”

So has much changed since 1906? No it hasn't. Especially the observation that the "average Filipino mind can form no conception of the duty of officials to the people." The rampant corruption at every level of government from barangay to Malcañang Palace testifies to this.

See also the post titled "A Damaged Culture."

Saturday, February 25, 2017

A Damaged Culture

"A Damaged Culture" is an article published in The Atlantic in 1987. It is a must read for anyone interested in delineating the reasons for the economic and political failure of the Philippines. It is a an "essay on how a culture of dependence and corruption should be held responsible for the despairing conditions of America’s (former and sole) Asian colony, the Philippines."  An article from 2013 titled "Why the Philippines Failed" references the Atlantic article thereby accepting the fact that nothing has changed and the Philippines remains a failed nation.

Below I have posted a paragraph that sums up a lot of what is in the article.  The author discusses the ousting of Marcos and the newly elected Corazon Aquino as well as Smoky Mountain and what it says about the Filipino spirit. He also touches on the sharp divide between rich and poor.  His main thesis is "a failure of nationalism," a real nationalism that embraces all your countrymen not just those within the family circle and then boasts emptily of a love for country, is to blame for the problems in the Philippines. Read the whole article for yourself and reflect on how little has really and fundamentally changed in thirty years.  

"For more than a hundred years certain traits have turned up in domestic descriptions and foreign observations of Philippine society. The tradition of political corruption and cronyism, the extremes of wealth and poverty, the tribal fragmentation, the local elite’s willingness to make a separate profitable peace with colonial powers—all reflect a feeble sense of nationalism and a contempt for the public good. Practically everything that is public in the Philippines seems neglected or abused. On many street corners in downtown Manila an unwary step can mean a broken leg. Holes two feet square and five feet deep lurk just beyond the curb; they are supposed to be covered by metal grates, but scavengers have taken the grates to sell for scrap. Manila has a potentially beautiful setting, divided by the Pasig River and fronting on Manila Bay. But three-fourths of the city’s sewage flows raw into the Pasig, which in turns empties into the bay; the smell of Smoky Mountain is not so different from the smell of some of the prettiest public vistas. The Philippine telephone system is worse than its counterparts anywhere else in non-communist Asia—which bogs down the country’s business and inconveniences its people—but the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company has a long history of high (and not reinvested) profits. In the first-class dining room aboard the steamer to Cebu, a Filipino at the table next to mine picked through his plate of fish. Whenever he found a piece he didn’t like, he pushed it off the edge of his plate, onto the floor. One case of bad manners? Maybe, but I’ve never seen its like in any other country. Outsiders feel they have understood something small but significant about Japan’s success when they watch a bar man carefully wipe the condensation off a bottle of beer and twirl it on the table until the label faces the customer exactly. I felt I had a glimpse into the failures of the Philippines when I saw prosperous-looking matrons buying cakes and donuts in a bakery, eating them in a department store, and dropping the box and wrappers around them as they shopped." 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Every House, Every Shanty a Restaurant or a Sari-Sari Store or Both

What does the Filipino do when he needs a little cash and there are no jobs that will hire him?  He goes into business for himself of course! 

Step one:  Borrow a little cash from a friend or a relative who you will pay back later, honest! Maybe even entice them to invest with the promise of profit sharing.

Step two:  Go to SM Mart or the Central Market and stock up on laundry powder, instant coffee, ramen noodles, and snacks of various kinds. Buy large quantities of viands to prepare.

Step Three: Buy a huge glass display case to show off all your wares.

Step four:  Set up shop!  Start cooking the viands for lunchtime customers.  Prepare a table space where they can eat.

Step Five:  Don't worry about taxes or business permits or health inspectors.  You don't need the hassle. You're just trying to make some money and what's wrong with that?

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

WARNING: Filipinos at Work!

Some guys from PLDT came by the neighbourhood to install a cable:

Why do Filipino linemen never have a bucket truck? Is PLDT really hurting that much for funds? Why are there three guys just standing around? Why is safety never number one? 

It's amazing how safety here always takes a backseat to getting the job done.  Something tells me that if one were to really study workplace accident statistics for the Philippines the numbers would be quite high.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Filipinos do not like to drive with their headlights on at night

Filipinos do not like to drive with their headlights on at night.  I have seen this time and time again with taxis, cars, trucks, jeepnies, motorcycles, tricycles, commercial trucks overloaded with sugarcane, they simply do not like to turn on their lights at night.  

Some jeepny drivers will drive with their lights on but when they come to a lighted area they switch them off and when they leave the area they turn them back on.  Some will turn them off when they stop for passengers and turn them back on when they start moving again. WHY??  To save power?  That is what the alternator is for!

Other jeepny and tricycle drivers will have their vehicle decked out in green, red, blue, white, or yellow rope lights and the whole thing will be lit up but the headlights will still remain off.  I suppose they think they are looking good but really they look garish and they are putting everyone in danger by not using their headlights.

Others install red, green, or blue headlights.  What good is that??  The point of headlights is so you can see the road and so others can see you.  If other vehicles can see you but you can't see the road in front of you then you have a problem.  Especially if your jeepny is overfilled and you got two guys standing on the back step and hanging on outside the vehicle!  

Driving with no lights on is the most reckless and infuriating driving habit because it is so dangerous and the danger is easily preventable.


Thursday, February 16, 2017

Noise: Garbage Trucks

Twice a week, between 6am and 8am, the garbage truck comes through the neighbourhood. With such frequency and regularity there is no reason anyone should be burning trash.  Fill up a bag, or a few bags, twice a week and get them ready.  The garbage men are even nice enough to let everyone know when they have arrived by blaring the song "Lambada" as they drive up and down each street. This is the ONLY song they play. Over and over and over and over and over and over.  Once they did play the radio but then they put "Lambada" back on.  This is a new development occurring only since the city purchased modern garbage trucks.  Before they would play chimes like an ice cream truck and during the Christmas season they would play Christmas songs.  Well, ONE Christmas song.  Why do they insist on repeating one song?

When the driver was asked why he continually repeats the same song he replied that it was a Mp3 and the boss had only downloaded one song. That's Filipino logic for you.  One high capacity USB drive but only one Mp3.

See the loudspeaker? 

This song "Lambada" is the most annoying piece of music ever written.  It's dangerous to write about it because just thinking of it gets the tune stuck in your head. The Filipinos like this song so much that even the back-up warning beeping sounds of Jeepnies and delivery trucks have been converted to play this song in an even more annoying 8-bit chiptune version. Why do they love this song so much?  It's mindless, annoying, and sticks in your head all day once you hear it.  Kind of like a Filipino.

Look at this guy standing right on the edge.  He could fall in and get crushed.  But when did a Filipino ever care about safety???

Friday, February 10, 2017

Filipinos Don't Know How to Use Escalators

There is new sign posted by all the escalators in the mall:

Yeah sure perhaps proper use of an escalator isn't instinctive but these escalators have been around for quite a few years.  Why didn't they post these signs earlier?  There's nothing more annoying than getting stuck behind somebody when you are on the move. 

But Filipinos aren't the kind to pay attention signs giving instructions.  Chances are this sign won't make much of a difference.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Noise: Churches

Everything in the Philippines is loud.  Even the churches.  The Filipino knows nothing about sacred silence.  Everything he does, even the most solemn religious services, are celebrated with loud noise rather than silent prayer and meditation.

This church does not have a building.  They meet at a basketball court.  At 7am they start playing a CD of church bells through a sound system that is hooked up to a loudspeaker which broadcasts this noise all over the countryside.  It can be heard for almost two miles away.  

For nine mornings before Christmas the Filipinos gather together to sing carols, pray to the saints, and hear a sermon which is usually a political tirade and has nothing to do with Baby Jesus.  This too is broadcast all over the countryside starting at 3am and not finishing until 6am.  Instead of a peaceful sleep you are woken suddenly by the warbling voice of a priest singing "Feliz Navidad" and ranting against the government. And there's no road back to dreamland. Even in your own home you aren't safe from Roman Catholic superstition.

Every church building here has a huge loudspeaker on the top of the building or outside somewhere so that the entire surrounding area can hear their devotions.  They broadcast the entire service.  The singing, the preaching, everything. And it's all garbled.  What's being broadcast isn't even intelligible.  

The Filipino love of noise runs deep. Very deep. Soul deep. He cannot keep quiet for a second.  There is so much noise in this country it is unbelievable.  There is no escape from noise here.  Not even at church. And with the loudspeakers broadcasting each service there's no escape from the church either.