the gapanese invasion is nigh!

"pinakamaganda ka nga sa buong kapuluan, pero latina na naman ang magwawagi ng korona at sash sa miss world! racism ba ito? lupasay!"

Sunday, August 31, 2008

repetitiveness of history: a review of nic tiongson's noli at fili dekada 2000

Noli at Fili Dekada 2000 (Dos Mil), Nicanor Tiongson’s fresh interpretation of Dr. Jose Rizal’s social and political realist novels Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, begs for answers to questions that have lingered long after foreign colonization left the Philippines still at the mercy of social cancer and reign of greed. These problems are reflected in the novels, literature being a legitimate record of the various areas of society.
First of these questions posed by the production of the play is, why do the problems persist? Social cancer and reign of greed are problems that are related to the ever-present power struggle in society. Since the principal power players in the colonial Philippines—the Spanish, the Americans and the Japanese—are no longer around to reduce the Filipinos to powerlessness, why does the oppression of the natives continue? It is because there is a colonial legacy that has been imbibed by the colonizers’ privileged classes namely the ilustrados and the principalia. Now, we see them deeply entrenched in their social niche, anchored on their ancestral family’s feudal, capitalist or political gains. In effect, these landed gentry and industrial and political elite have become the new oppressors by virtue of the power they wield to reproduce their privileged condition at the expense of the working masses. This social injustice breeds a social cancer in which the gravity of illness has been deliberately ignored even as the power tripping already produces a sick society of the conscienceless rich and the silenced poor. It also breeds a reign of greed wherein the rich continuously enrich themselves at the price of the poor becoming desperately poorer. The classic Rizalian novels have chronicled these social truths by virtue of the corrupt frailocracy in both Noli and El Fili, which get updated in the constellation of deforestation-related corruption involving Governor Santiago Santos, Colonel Salvador Salvatierra and San Lorenzo Bishop Damaso in the play.
Another question is, why have the problems become so systematic? If the social elites are to be blamed for the current ills of the society, what are the social minorities doing in the wake of this corruption? Returning to the symbol of the social cancer, the poor may have the idea that their exploitation by the rich is the cause of their powerlessness, but they remain silent, uncaring and/or fearful out of the possibility of falling below far more destitute plight. If they work for the feudal lords and rebel against them, they may lose their right to labor at the farm. If they work for the capitalists and hold strikes against them, they may find themselves jobless. Hence, they choose to submit themselves rather than risk their chance for economic survival. As a result, they become afflicted with the disease of knowing the problem but not doing something about it. For as long as that social cancer remains untouched, not confronted, the working class will not flinch from their maltreatment and, in the process, will participate in their very oppression. Pointing out their tragic flaw will render them helplessly resentful toward their untouched manipulators or, alas, toward themselves. If it is possible to avoid patting the cancerous portion, they won’t, if only not to bring to fore the infuriating idea that the poor are not just the victims of oppression but the very perpetrator of this crime. The National Hero’s novels show that the natives allowed themselves to be pushed around—from Capitan Tiago to Sisa to Basilio to Placido—while the play shows that the naïve Maypajo Mayor Ibarra Marasigan and the people who removed him from office had been maneuvered into consummating the naked motives of their controller.
Finally and the most important question is, what could be done to address the problems? Two major options may be had, considering their previous application in the Philippine political context: the democratic process or the revolutionary one. Filipinos lay their hopes for change come election times when new sets of government officials will have been officially sworn into improving the citizens’ lives, or popular movements wherein a new president is installed after booting out his/her predecessor. At the rate these options have turned into frustrations, a third option remains to be seen so the disappointing course the country is being directed in will ultimately produce favorable results. The late nineteenth-century long fictions have imaginatively incorporated proposals of freedom through Spanish assimilation and, later, revolutionary uprooting of social institutions. Meanwhile, the play for its part saw the idealistic mayor attempting to initiate change via authorized means until in the long run, his altered destiny bedeviled him into resorting to vigilantism.
The contemporarization of Rizal’s masterpieces is a confrontation of the available alternatives for present-day Filipinos: do the citizens resort to revolution in order to create radical changes in the society, or cling on to the stubborn hope that the gradual process of democracy will at last achieve fruition? Whatever the choice, its impact will not only shape the fate of Filipinos alive today, but also those of the succeeding generations to whom the contemporary citizens are socially and politically accountable.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

little, letter, little prince

Someone with F.O. for initials recently joined my intergalactic fans’ club, citing that he has read my articles over the net and “[ang] galing mo po magsulat.” Thank you, F.O.; I hope that more students like you will visit my blogsite for my random ranting of the academic sort. However, I’m sorry to disappoint you but your flattery lacks enough merit for me to write a reflection paper on Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince in Tagalog (Do you mean, in Filipino? I write only in English and Filipino and have yet to dip into my parents’ Iloko, my directed reading’s and beloved’s Hiligaynon, or my favorite writers’ Spanish). Most especially, I am a teacher too so I feel for your professor who expects that students like you will be able to fulfill the course’s three-domain objectives. In any case, let me give supplementary ideas aside from the guide questions already given by your professor. Remember that you are working on a reflection, so the obligatory philosophical queries and symbols should be evident. I will use English for obvious reasons: I encourage you to resist becoming like other students who guiltlessly cut and paste my work and brand it as theirs instead of using it as a reference material, as a point of contention or whatever else.

1. Ano ang makabuluhang karanasang pantao na nakapaloob sa nobela?
There are many significant human experiences embedded in the novel, the more salient of which are introspectiveness, friendship, and reckoning one’s priorities. These experiences may be found throughout the novel, but may also be discovered in one single episode that’s the encounter between the little prince and the fox. It is interesting to point out that the little prince is not an earthling and the fox is an animal, making their humanness questionable; however, they express so much humanity to such extent that they seem more human than the rest of us.

2. Ano ang kahalagahan nito sa kasalukuyang kalakaran o mga pangyayari sa ating lipunan?
Significant human experiences are essential at all times; in the context of the contemporary period, however, they become increasingly important because how many of our modern people can afford to, say, stop being multi-tasking in order to think things over? It might not even occur to them at all to reflect the importance of their present engagements. It is a welcome change, then, to be reminded of somewhat overlooked values present in the novel since these values are crucial in achieving the best evolution we can attain out of experienced social currents.

3. Paano maaring maging instrumento ang nobela upang mabago o mapaunlad ang pananaw ng mga tao tungkol sa mga nangyayari sa ating kapaligiran?
Any good piece of literature can become a catalyst of development in social consciousness. In the case of the novel, the insights it offers provide ways through which people can sort out their priorities in their ultimate attempt to bring out the best in life and in this world.

4. Ikaw, bilang mambabasa, paano mo maaring mapahalagahan ang mga kaisipang nakapaloob sa nobela?
The most one can do about insights being imbued by any literary work is to apply them in real life in such a manner as introduce personal as well as social change. If they have been known and are found beneficial to one’s improvement, then they should be put to good use.

5. Anong kaisipan mula sa nobela ang nakintal sa iyong isipan?
The novel is unforgettable for its philosophy on being meditative, its way in making one set priorities as well as its placement of importance in relationships. Of course, there are other insights that may have impressed other readers more than the ones mentioned.

6. Anu-anong mga simbolismo ang nakapaloob sa nobela at ano ang kinakatawan nito sa kasalukuyan?
There are many symbols and their representations may be found in the contemporary society, some of which are the king without any subject, the tamed fox, the whimsical rose and the like. What they stand for in the present time, however, depends on whose perspective.

7. Maituturing mo bang makabuluhan ang nobela? Bakit?
It is hard not to consider the novel significant, given the many ignored philosophies that the novel helps resurface for people to learn. If these philosophies will be put to practice, how can the world full of injustice stay the same? The novel is meaningful because the lessons that may be drawn from it can elicit, among other life-altering conditions, the definition of and change in humankind and the universe.

F.O., I hope that I was able to help you in any way. Good luck to your paper and let me hear from you again, your classmates, and your friends. Feel at home whenever you visit my blogsite.:)

Friday, August 29, 2008

ssssssssshhhhhhhhhh! in shangri-la

Pangga and I agreed to meet Tuesday, but for three reasons we had to reset the date. First, it began to rain, so it will be hard for me to travel because I will have to come all the way from Quezon City while he works in the midst of Ortigas Center where Megamall, our official meeting place, is located. Second, he leaves the office at 3 PM while my literature class ends at 6 PM, so combining the three long hours of his wait and the first reason, I might again get a text message from him reading “Lupasay! Bunot ng Deal or No Deal sabay tapon sa Super Trivia.” Third, perhaps the most crucial reason, is that the movie For the First Time will premiere in Megamall so, fearing that Pangga will be mistaken for Richard Gutierrez while I, his bodyguard, we settled for a Thursday date in the ongoing Silent Film Festival in Shangri-La.
After securing theater seats and getting tickets to the internationally-acclaimed Czech film Erotikon, I dragged Pangga to several bookstores where I bought discounted titles like David Malouf’s Booker-shortlisted novel Remembering Babylon, Charlson Ong’s Conversion and Other Fictions, Rani Manicka’s The Rice Mother, gay novels entitled In Tall Cotton and Uncle Max, an anthology of erotica entitled High Risk, Ben Okri’s Stars of the New Curfew, and a Latin American short fiction anthology entitled A Hammock beneath the Mangoes. Along the MRT stairs, a gay-looking guy exchanged greeting with Pangga, who was quick to defend that the guy was a former classmate and that they had lost contact ever since. He cautioned that I have no reason to harbor jealousy over the classmate because “hindi naman siya kaguwapuhan.” Amid the smell of shawarma and Chinese noodles and the sound of screeching from an invisible videoke singer, I said sweetly that I have enough trust on him to grow jealous. We proceeded to a Japanese restaurant for our dinner before watching.

Midway through the silent film, the husband of the woman who had been carrying an adulterous affair with a man she met years before mouthed something which translated into “I am not jealous because I trust you.” Pangga hugged me closer to him and whispered, “parang narinig ko na ‘yun kanina a.” I dismissed it, claiming that art and real life are notoriously plagiarizing each other.
Toward the film’s end, he wondered why non-mainstream films such as that being screened would still draw a large audience, apart from the hype that the original score was preserved and that pre-war films are indeed rare. It’s humanity, my dear. Given the onslaught of Hollywoodization, what redemptive movies are still available to signify the moviegoers’ human experiences of, say, forbidden passion, filial loss, triumph over racism, romantic sacrifice? Some of the early motion-picture attempts to this philosophical question come alive albeit silent in Shangri-La cinemas until September 8, 2008. See you, ulp, ssshhhhh! (Ikaw ba ‘yan,Belinda Bright?)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Like a grave ingrown in the flesh,
Love pierces sharply through my heart.
It grows and grows but not in place;
Its intense pain tears me apart.
However I undo with it,
Love just brings ache as if it must;
It persists to torture my poor self
Like nothing else—but an ingrown—does.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

ang masamang kailangan

Sa kabanatang “Tinig ng mga Pinag-uusig” ng nobelang Noli Me Tangere ni Jose Rizal, nagkaroon ng talakayan sina Ibarra at Elias, habang namamangka sa lawa, hinggil sa pangangailangang magkaroon ng reporma sa sistemang pampamahalaan ng Pilipinas. Samantalang kinakatawan ni Elias ang mga pinag-uusig na naglalayong mapalitan ang mapaniil na patakaran ng mga Kastila dahil sa paglaganap ng kawalang-katarungan laban sa kanilang uri, ipinagdiinan naman ni Ibarra na kailangan sa pagbabago ang mga mapang-usig dahil nagsisilbing tagadisiplina ng lipunan ang mababagsik na prayle at malulupit na guardia sibil.
Ang pagkakaibang ito sa pananaw ng dalawang tauhang may magkaibang estadong pang-ekonomiya ay maaring pagtakhan ng mambabasa dahil kung tuusin ay kapwa sila biktima ng kasawian at hindi naiiba sa maraming Pilipinong minsan o sa ibang pagkakataon ay nabugbog ng mga guardia sibil, napagmalupitan o nagahasa pa ng mga prayle o naagawan ng lupa at ari-arian ng korporasyon. Nagkatalo ang dalawa sa kamalayan dulot ng diskursong pang-edukasyon: para sa nakapag-aral na si Ibarra, dapat na asimilado pa rin ng Inang Espanya ang kolonyang Pilipinas dahil ito ang diplomatiko at pinakaligtas na paraan para hindi magkaroon ng anarkiya sa bansa. Sa kabilang banda, para sa masang si Elias, dapat na maging malaya ang bansa sa pananakop ng Espanya upang matigil ang kahirapan at pang-aabuso sa Pilipinas.
Mahigit isang dantaon ang nakalipas buhat sa pagkakalaya sa mga Kastila ngunit ang Pilipinas ay nasa sangandaan pa rin hinggil sa repormang ipapatupad upang makausad sa kaawa-awa nitong kalagayan. Habang kahirapan at pang-aabuso sa isang kolonya ang nangangailangan ng pagbabago noon, kahirapan at katiwalian sa isang republika ang nangangailangan ng reporma ngayon. Bilang konsiderasyon sa panatag na klimang pulitikal upang maengganyo ang ang mga kapitalistang magtayo ng negosyong magbibigay ng trabaho at upang maasikaso ng gobyerno ang pagsupil ng katiwalian, ang diplomatikong paniniwala ni Ibarra ang magiging mas epektibo sa kalagayan ng bansa ngayon. Ang rebolusyon na nagluklok kay Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, samantalang mapayapa at pinangunahan ng mga kabataang pag-asa ng bayan, ay kinatakutan ng pandigdigang komunidad dahil sa nagiging kasanayan na umano ng mga Pilipino ang “konstitusyon ng lansangan”—pahiwatig na hindi sa lahat ng pagkakataon ay kaaya-aya ang radikalismo at nagbubunsod ito ng pangamba sa mga negosyanteng umaayaw sa mga bansang destabilisado ang pamahalaan. Ang ‘di-pagresolba sa kahirapan at pagpapabaya sa mga tiwaling tao ay masama, ngunit totoong masamang kailangan sila upang ang mga mahihirap, gamit ang kahirapan bilang motibasyon, ay magpunyaging umunlad at ang magkatuwang na lakas ng mga mamamayan at pamahalaan ang maniningil sa buktot na gawain ng mga tiwali.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

should one engage in pre-marital sex?

We are a highly sexualized generation. What the previous generations had been silenced for discussing, being taboo, we can openly talk about under the veil of Sex Education or can draw from various media as print, TV, or celluloid. In this generation wherein several major issues concerning sex like contraceptives or AIDS epidemic prevention are being tackled or, hopefully, being addressed, pre-marital sex is one such issue that has long ripped its clothes, done its foreplay, reached climax but that continues to procreate negative offspring.
I am not for one’s engagement in pre-marital sex. All things being equal, I have to eliminate certain sectors of the society in order to highlight my “NO” stand: people, who are at ripe age for marriage, say 26 onwards (past identity crisis stage), but are too bohemian to care about the social stigma of enjoying sex out of wedlock; people who are forced into it, like rape victims; people with emotional maturity—those who are ready to answer for the consequences of their actions. For purposes of immediacy and relativity, I will use the current context of Philippine society to prove my point that one must shun pre-marital sex.
Studies by the University of the Philippines Population Institute raised alarm over the increasing rate of pre-marital sex engagement among consenting, necessarily immature Filipino youth. For instance, young people barely out of their teens constitute the 50+% that lose their virginity, or frequently “taste the cherry,” so to speak, while still in high school or early in college. While the activity surely satisfies the curiosity or yearnings of the wanton flesh and renders a kind of liberation from the hypocritical or pretentiously conservative protectors of morality, the end will not justify the means: unwanted pregnancies, risks of sexually-transmitted diseases and AIDS, uncalled-for marriages, guilty feelings, social ostracism.
While I wish to stress that sex must be postponed until such time one is emotionally prepared to swap “I do’s” with one’s partner, I do not want to mislead the audience that marriage should be constructed as a license, a ticket, a passport for one to secure so that one can get laid, after all. Sex, pleasurable as it is or seems depending on whether or not one has tried it, is integral to marriage in order to multiply and create the social unit called family. However, marriage is not a piece of cake with cherries on top for anyone to pop; it is a life-changing major decision more or less inspired by mutual love, with love meant as work while sex, fun. Marriage is a vow made only once, and even as in it, sex is legitimate if only for the social approval and even as it does not prevent marriage people from having extra-marital affairs, there is more than just drama in saying, “for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do us part.”
As this point of our lives, nearing the stairs of the fulfillment of our dreams, we cannot afford to become parents way too young, or to get infected with venereal diseases and HIV, or to attain celebrity status through gossips and scandals. Let us not forget that sex occurs in the brain, necessarily making it a brain thing. Engagement in sex, especially pre-marital sex, entails then the use of thinking, doesn’t it?

Friday, August 22, 2008

paul tillich's distinction between a symbol and a sign

While signs and symbols are similar for pointing beyond themselves, signs do not participate in their pointed reality unlike symbols. Also, signs can be changed or replaced for practicality unlike symbols that can be. Symbols reveal levels of reality that are otherwise close to humans. They likewise unlock dimensions of the soul corresponding to unlocked dimensions of reality. They also get produced unintentionally, growing out of the collective unconscious. Finally, because they are alive, they too grow and die.
Faith can only be expressed symbolically. No finite reality can express the ultimate directly and properly, for the concrete is always finite whereas symbolized ultimate concern is infinite. Faith can only be expressed in concrete, limited and finite terms so there is always an inadequacy in expressing the ultimate concern that’s God. Hence, faith cannot be used to question the ultimatum of an ultimate concern because that will just be meaningless. Of the many symbols of faith which give it meaning that is devoid of idolatrous elements include power, love and justice.
Faith is made real only within a community of a language of faith where mythical and ritual languages are interdependent. Since faith is mostly symbolic by expression, its reality may be questionable. Still, it is possible to express the ultimate in the context of concrete, human, daily experiences. Language alone cannot quite fully grasp the ultimate concern that’s God, so a language of faith is required because such a language gets to represent that which cannot be described at all via symbols. Using mythical and ritual languages, humans can make a representation of God—incomplete but all the same good enough symbol—in the most realistic way symbols can allow them. These kinds of languages depend on each other in order to open possibilities of realizing God, with mythical language being used in stories about human-divine encounters and with ritual language being used in symbolizing one’s faith in God.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

water, water nowhere: the first world's role in water crisis management

The imminent water crisis may be eclipsed through the much sensationalized rice and fuel price hike, but by the time it becomes taken seriously, it may already be too late. It is disturbing that while the industrialized nations are exploiting their available alternatives to accessing water, their poorer counterparts experience the lack of opportunities to social development which shall pave the way to their own water access. The water plight in impoverished African and Asian nations may be worse, but that in the Philippines is no simple matter itself. The ancient pipelines in which water passes through to deliver service throughout the city are rusting and replete with contaminants and the very water is unfit to drink. If we were any luckier like the First World citizens like the Europeans and the Americans, we can afford to buy mineral water but the poverty condition of the Filipinos makes the issue of regular purchasing of water out of the question. As a result, not even the basic necessity of man is made available or provided for by the very officials who were elected and sworn into improving our lives.
It will appear too simplistic to find a scapegoat for it all in the form of the government, but I think that the actual ends of global conferences on such fundamental needs as water should be a joint project of both the industrialized and the developing nations. The First World should not just enjoy the privilege of providing the best opportunities to their own citizens but should have the conscience not to exploit their technology and economic means in sharing these to the less privileged Third World. Since all humans deserve not to be denied of their basic rights to access to fundamental necessities, the industrialized nations should see the water crisis not as a capitalistic opportunity presenting itself but as a challenge that begs for their social responsiveness toward their fellow global citizens.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

lewd, so have mercy

in my poem "apocrypha," there is a line that goes: "forgive me, father, but i want to sin." what better words can capture my spiritually offensive feeling right now upon browsing the foregoing in this site? the before and after pics are of an elder and, bless him and the rest of his gorgeous co-missionaries, no excommunication whatsoever is flying out of the church of jesus christ of latter-day saints as of press time. imagine any of these guys attempting to bring the good news of salvation, hence the need for conversion, only to create the crucial effect of diversion. well, in the teenage years of my spiritual (among other) identity crisis, i and my classmates aj and fang used to attend sessions with a hunky mormon elder from new zealand. my attention was there alright, but how can my focus remain undistracted by the smothering looks of that innocent missionary? Or this one:

(sweating bullets)whew! this elder makes me want to do a remake of latter days.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

in a station en route to the metro

how do i love pampango boys? let me count the ways...

i love thee when their backs are turned, striking a james dean pose,

and i love thee when they’re seated, next to the girls they love the most,

and i love thee when they’re caught oblivious against the sky’s purple haze…

Monday, August 18, 2008

back with a lantern

When you have deliberately suspended my flight in chaotic midair, I no sooner realized I need to mature, alone. For almost three, torrid summers since 1997, I have subserviently behaved under your binding spell. Because of you, I have become a poet, columnist, personal secretary, tutor, minion, home habitué, shock absorber, researcher, anyone a trained pet can embody.
Not until lately have I been disillusioned that instead of soaring high through the virtual wings you have gifted me with, I have seconded Icarus in his ill-fated descent. I have scantly relished the cruel thought that in the long run, you will leave me unattended up in the skies. Really, if one is smitten by gullibility and has entrusted his amateur flying stint to a seeming expert pilot, he is in complete risk of plunging the hardest in the raging sea of disappointment. I am not being cynical; I only theorize based on first-hand experience of being unransomed by a tested (others prove so) salve.
You have slipped away and deserted me so fast, like a “professional” Quiapo snatcher subtly victimizing a bejeweled coed. What you have thieved from the very start? Many young, naïve hearts, among which is mine so faithful and unchanging. I must have not expected much from you, but who has ever smartly done so when the feeling is too climatic one believes he savors unending, excitement-filled roller coaster ride? Pity me; I have overlooked that the more ebullient I go enjoying your wile, the more hurting I get when you abandon me by viciously rocketing off to your bailiwick.
Then, as my topsy-turvy mode of living starts getting rearranged (without your aid awhile), you instantly have the nerve to reappear not in your chinky-eyed looks, but with the lantern this time. What is your lantern for, light through which I can view my path bedimmed by you? However you reinvent your form, be you a governor-action star replica or a manly beauty prize winner, you carry with you the same primeval objective: authenticate that I, as any other pathetic fool, am prone to being cheated in manifolds.
I live by the adage “A lover never heals a broken heart: he just gets over it.” It is for this single reason that I dread your reemergence: I might use the similar whip I have lashed myself with earlier. Nonetheless, I am not stunted by loss, for I learn a deal from you. Therefore, you make me grow.

Friday, August 15, 2008

interrogating philippine independence: the failure of the tydings-mcduffie law

Colonial historiography has it that the Philippines was annexed to the United States as its territory in the wake of the turn-of-the-20th-century national revolution against the archipelago’s first colonizer Spain. It took a matter of time when the first American colony became an insular area possessing a non-commonwealth status until, by 1935, the Philippines was assigned a ten-year commonwealth stature before the US would allow full political independence. The decade-long transitional government was legislated as the Philippine Independence Act, alternatively called Tydings-McDuffie Act. While the autonomizing law envisioned the unification of the Philippine Islands into the more national and sovereign Philippines, the Tydings-McDuffie Law was practically not the road to true independence as shown in the Commonwealth Era.
Before the Tydings-McDuffie Act was born, the US Congress first ratified in 1932 the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Bill which grants independence to Filipinos. However, there was a price to pay militarily in the form of the establishment of American Military and naval bases as well as economically in the form of the heaping of tariffs and quotas on exported products. Then President Herbert Hoover vetoed the Bill but the following year, the US Congress overrode the veto and ratified the act. Nonetheless, the bill met a sudden death under the opposition of then Philippine Senate President Manuel Quezon and his legislative colleagues. All the same, the bogus independence had itself coming with the resurrection of the rejected bill under the new name Tydings-McDuffie Act, filed by Maryland Senator Millard Tydings and Alabama Representative John McDuffie. The approved new act echoed its predecessor: the US gives the Philippine autonomy a go-signal until the tenth year when the archipelago achieves full American independence but with the provision that the US would maintain naval bases until 1948 and military forces as manifested at present by the US-Filipino Balikatan exercises. The act was passed by the US Congress with the lobbying of the Quezon-led Philippine Independence mission to Washington, DC. It was meant to prepare the country for independence.
However, due to dubious provisions of the enterprising mother colonizer, the Philippine independence was suspect. It is interesting to examine the basic definition of the term and compare and contrast this term to the supposed independent condition of the country. According to various dictionary definitions, independence means “freedom from dependence,” “exemption from reliance on or control by others,” “self-subsistence or maintenance” or “the direction of one’s own affairs without interference.” Politically, the true meaning of independence is “the self-government of a nation, country, or state by its residents and population, or some portion thereof, generally exercising sovereignty.” It means self-governance, an abstract notion which alludes to many levels of organization such as the microcosmic personal conduct or family units or the macrocosmic activities like professions, industry groups, religions and political units including autonomous areas and aboriginal groups or others enjoying sovereign rights inside nation-states. It fits inside the bigger milieu of governance and principles like the permission of the governed as well as involves corporate governance and non-profit organizations.
Self-rule applies to a people or group with the ability to practice the attendant operations of power without interference from a higher authority which the group cannot even circumvent. It is related to the idea wherein a colonial rule, absolute monarchy or totalitarian government ends and wherein marginalized religious, ethnic or geographical groups demand for autonomy. A republican government and democracy like the Philippines, thus, has to have self-rule for it to obtain the right to claim independence.
In general, self-governance of nation-states relates to national sovereignty, a concept that is crucial in international law. Its features include but is not limited to the following: (1) an ethical rule that warrants the desirable behavior within the unit or group, (2) a set of criteria wherein an external legal or political authority may be involved (unless the very group resists that authority), (3) an instrument of guaranteeing that the external authority does not intervene only until these criteria are met like a rule of silence concerning the outbound communication of insiders, (4) a process for recording and resolving grievances, (5) the capability to apply discipline to members, (5) an instrument in choosing leaders, and (6) an instrument in regulating parties or renegade groups out to rival the existing organization.
Also, independence consists in exercising sovereignty, which is the exclusive right to wrest control over a region of governance, people or oneself. A sovereign acts as the highest legislative authority. In Jean –Jacques Rosseau’s Social Contract, the Enlightenment philosopher asserted that “the growth of the State giving the trustees of public authority more and means to abuse their power, the more the Government has to have force to contain the people, the more force the Sovereign should have in turn in order to contain the Government,” with the argument that the sovereign is a collective entity coming from the overall will of the people, not from just any man who can never consider himself as the law. According to constitutional and international law, the idea also refers to a government gaining complete manipulation of its very affairs inside its territorial or geographical boundary by way of diplomacy instead of supervision or mandate. Hence, sovereignty is self governance whereby independence is achieved.
For several countries, independence provides the date when sovereignty was attained from which empire, trusteeship or nation. Meanwhile, other countries have independence dates that actually refer to some degree of nationhood like founding date, unification date, date of federation, confederation or establishment, basic change in government structure, or state succession. Independence is also contrasted against subjugation or the subjecting of a region into a territory under the political and military control of an external government, although subjugation is used weakly to set it apart from hegemony or the indirect manipulation of one nation by a more powerful other. Furthermore, independence is the initial state of a rising nation to close a political gap, although it is frequently the liberation from some dominant power or, defined negatively, the status of not being manipulated by a stronger country via colonialism, expansionism or imperialism. Decolonization, separation or dissolution is not applicable to autonomy, a variety of independence granted by a supervising authority, which still wields final authority over the autonomous territory.
Given these theories and principles surrounding political independence and related concepts, the thesis may now be scrutinized to prove if indeed, the Philippine Independence Act fell short of applying the motivation through which it emerged.
The ten-year Commonwealth period of the Philippines turned intermittent owing to the three-year Japanese Occupation during World War II. The first part commenced from November, 15,1935 or the day of inauguration of the Commonwealth Government up to January 3, 1942 or the day the Japanese took over the Open City of Manila. The second half began on February 27, 1945 or the day General Douglas MacArthur transferred the newly-liberated civil government to President Sergio Osmeña and ended on July 4, 1945 or the day the American Government granted full sovereignty and independence to the Philippines.
The newborn government pursued a high-wire nation-building act to follow political independence with economic independence. Apart from national defense, completion of democratic institutions, educational reforms, transport improvement and colonization of Mindanao region, the Philippines embarked on gaining larger control of the economy, the promotion of local capital and industrialization.
The Commonwealth abided by its own constitution which lasted until 1973. However, the self-governing feature of this constitution was marred by foreign policies and military affairs courtesy of the US, and by some laws on immigration, currency system and foreign trade that had to gain approval first of the American President. In effect, while the constitution is the highest-governing law of the land, the former motherland that is the US seems to be above this supreme law. In essence, the provision on independence of the Tydings-McDuffie Act has been transgressed by the legislative and military intervention of the dominant US. The contemporary repercussions of this American interference point to the lasting legacy of the provisionally ignored Tydings-McDuffie Act.
While the new government also has a very strong executive, a bicameral National Assembly and a Supreme Court in representation of the three branches of a presidential government wholly composed of Filipino citizens, most of them have been American-trained or have continued to maintain colonial ties with the US. Also, worries in terms of military and diplomatic affairs in Southeast Asia caused the US to commit itself continuously to the Philippines, a fact that is sustained to this very day through Manila’s close ties with Washington and the presence of American soldiers in the country long after the US Bases went close. As such, there is a lingering American presence in the government, which means the country remains dependent to the US in a certain way.
The vulnerability of the Philippine economy as an aftermath of the Great Depression, the existence of agrarian unrest, the imbalanced export-import policy between the US and the Philippines and the outstripping of the Philippine peso by the American dollar caused the country to be dependent to the US up until now with the onslaught of American products from Hollywood movies to household commodities as well as the presence of transnational corporations out to employ cheap Filipino labor. For instance, the American agricultural sector was threatened that the low-tariff Philippine products would pose a competition against American sugar beet, tobacco and dairy products so eventually, taxes were stiffened upon Philippine exports’ entry into the US as well as limitations were imposed. Meanwhile, the opposite case happened with the American imports’ entry into the Philippines. Same is true with restricted Filipino migrant workers’ entry into the US vis-à-vis the unrestricted American entry into the country. The lasting American economic imperialism is a proof that the idea of independence as stipulated in the Tydings-McDuffie Act is not being exercised by the very country that permitted its legislative passage.
The US’ economic imperialism also intersected with the cultural variety with the domination of Hollywood cinema, American fashion and Filipinos’ enculturation of American English language. As business transactions were done in English, Hollywood movies were not translated and American clothes became in vogue, the passage of Filipino as national language and the promotion of native dresses were set aside, causing a negative impact in the promised American independence. Until today, these American popular culture trends bedevil the Philippine society, failing the aspiration of the Tydings-McDuffie Act.
While it is easy to see that the Philippine Independence Act was well-intentioned in liberating the country from American colonial dependence, the Act was implemented to pursue the neocolonial ends of the American Empire. The political independence appeared to be just a hollow ceremony, as military, economic and cultural dependence still trapped the post-Commonwealth Philippines within the colonial web. This was and still is not true independence because these forms of dependence are sustained up to the contemporary times, especially political dependence which renders all Philippine governments after American Regime as puppet-like governments serving the whims of Washington administration. Only when a sincere Filipinization in the country’s social superstructure occurs will the terribly Americanized Philippines be capable of fulfilling the motives of the Tydings-McDuffie Law.

Dolan, Ronald E., ed. (1991), "Economic Relations with the United States", Philippines: A Country Study, Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, . Retrieved on 2007-12-28
Lacsamana, Leodivico Cruz (1990), Philippine History and Government, Phoenix publishing House, ISBN 9710618946, . Retrieved on 2007-12-28
Ronald E. Dolan, ed. Philippines: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, 1991.
Seekins, Donald M. (1991), "The Commonwealth", in Dolan, Ronald E., Philippines: A Country Study, Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, . Retrieved on 2007-12-28
__________. (1991), "World War II", in Dolan, Ronald E., Philippines: A Country Study, Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress, . Retrieved on 2007-12-28

Thursday, August 14, 2008

foucault's the use of pleasure: in a nutshell

In The Use of Pleasure: The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2, Michel Foucault reveals that Greek ethics was about “the relationship with the self and the self that enabled a person to keep from being carried away by the appetites and pleasures, to maintain a mastery and superiority over them, to keep his senses in a state of tranquility, to remain free from interior bondage to the passions, and to achieve a mode of being that could be defined by the full enjoyment of oneself, or the perfect supremacy of oneself over oneself.” This called for discussing four components namely (1) the determination of the ethical substance, (2) the mode of subjection, (3) moral work, and (4) the moral goal. In the Greek épistémè or knowledge, the ethical substance is bodily pleasure (aphrodisia), the mode of subjection was proper use (chrēsis), the moral work involved a struggle for continence (enkrateia), and the moral goal was the freedom generated by self-mastery (sōphrosynē).
The first area of ethics for Foucault is the determination of the ethical substance. The ethical substance is the “material” of one’s moral conduct. It answers the question, “Which is the aspect or the part of myself or my behavior which is concerned with moral conduct?” The ethical substance is the area of people’s lives that is to be morally assessed. In the Greek épistémè, the ethical substance is aphrodisia. Aphrodisia are “the acts, gestures, and contacts that produce a certain form of pleasure.” Aphrodisia are bodily pleasures that are related with specific actions like eating, drinking, and having sex.
For Foucault, aphrodisia are considered both positive and negative. They are positive since they are natural and necessary, i.e. everyone must eat, drink, and reproduce—nature encourages animals to eat, drink, and procreate by making these activities immensely pleasurable. Nonetheless, bodily pleasures also had a negative quality, which required for their delimitation. The main reason for this was that the Greeks deemed aphrodisia as possessing an “inferior character” for they “were common to animals and men,” “mixed with privation and suffering,” and “depended on the body and its necessities.”
However, it was more than the inferior quality of aphrodisia that rendered them the point of ethical concern. Two major problems emerge: the predicament of excessiveness, and the horror of passivity. According to Foucault, excessiveness and passivity in the Greek épistémè are “[f]or a man…the two main forms of immorality.” Because these two problems were the major forms of immorality, and because both were linked to and associated with bodily pleasures, aphrodisia is the ethical substance of Greek ethics. Excessiveness is a “lack of self-restraint with regard to pleasure.” Considering that pleasures obtained in aphrodisiac activity are high, one begins to pursue pleasure beyond one’s natural needs that cause the desire for the activity to begin with. This is the problem of intemperance, which is characterized by gluttony, drunkenness, and nymphomania, all of which are excessive performances of otherwise natural and necessary bodily processes. Foucault asserts that “the primary dividing line laid down by moral judgment in the area of sexual behavior was not prescribed by the nature of the act…but by the activity and its quantitative gradations.”
In the intemperate person, pleasures are pursued regardless of need, which brought strained relations with oneself. The other ethical problem is that one turns passive to pleasures. Aphrodisia have an active and a passive sense. In the sexual form of aphrodisia, there are two roles: the active, penetrating, “masculine” role; and the passive, penetrated, “feminine” role. There is “the one who performs the activity and the one on whom it is performed.” Passivity has two senses that are yet interconnected. First, one can seek after pleasures attained by passive activity, i.e. men who seek the pleasure of being anally penetrated; second, one could fall short of being actively vigilant about one’s bodily needs, and through excessive behavior could become passive to eating, drinking, and having sex (even in its “masculine” role) such that one lives to eat instead of eats to live.
In summary, aphrodisia are natural and necessary, yet dangerous when used incorrectly. Pleasures of the body, while not evil in themselves, lead morally weak people into excess and passivity, making people lose their humanity and behave like animals, which only obey their appetite. Hence, one must make bodily pleasures an ethical concern since aphrodisia are always morally relevant in Greek ethics.
The second component of ethics for Foucault is the mode of subjection. This is taken as “the way in which the individual establishes his relation to the rule and recognizes himself as obliged to put it into practice.” In short, it is the way in which people are incited to recognize their moral obligations. The mode of subjection is the manner one should ethically address the ethical substance. Once the ethical substance is established, what should one do with it and why? In the Greek épistémè, the mode of subjection was proper use of pleasures. This is where the book draws its title. The Greek understanding of the proper use of pleasure is detailed in parts two, three and four of the book: “Dietetics” deals with eating and drinking, “Economics” has to do with sexual relations with women and slaves, and “Erotics” focuses on sexual relations with boys who were fated to grow up to become free men in the polis, respectively. The Greeks did not differentiate these areas. Foucault argues that “[f]ood, wines, and relations with women and boys constituted analogous ethical material; they brought forces into play that were natural, but that always tended to be excessive.”
It is in the first part of the text, nevertheless, that Foucault describes chrēsis in general. According to him, there are three factors to the proper use of pleasures: need, timeliness, and social status. By studying these three aspects, one will come to understand not only how one tackled the ethical substance, but also what motivates one for using pleasures correctly. First, the proper use of pleasure subsisted on need. Since desire emerges from a condition of privation, one’s fulfillment of those desires must correspond to the level of need. The ethical Greek ate only when hungry, and did so only with the amount needed to satisfy that hunger correctly. In effect, the pleasure of eating is properly used. As Foucault asserts, “the objective was not to reduce pleasure to nothing; on the contrary, what was wanted was to maintain it and do so through the need that awakened desire.” Provided that needs vary from person to person, it is the responsibility of each ethical agent to consider the right amount of food, drink, and sex one needed to have, and never exceed those limits. Timeliness, the second factor of the proper use of pleasure, is connected to the general obsession with time that the Greeks have regarding medicine, government, and navigation. Kairos is of the essence in the Greek épistémè, and actions had to be done at the right time. There is a time for everything, and certain pleasures should be experienced only at certain instances. One should eat only at certain times of the day, and certain things should be eaten only during certain seasons. Given that different people have different biorhythms and “internal clocks,” it is the responsibility of each ethical agent to do matters at the right time. Finally, the proper use of pleasure subsisted on one’s status, the role the agent plays in society. How well one has to use pleasure depended on whether one is a man, a woman, a slave, or a child. The rationale for Greek men to use pleasure correctly is that their ethical strength, their masculinity, their potential as an important leader in the polis, all reflected in how they use pleasure. Foucault argues that “[i]t was a generally accepted principle of government that the more one was in the public eye, the more authority one had or wanted to have over others, and the more one sought to make one’s life into a brilliant work whose reputation would spread far and last long—the more necessary it was to adopt and maintain…rigorous standards of…conduct.”
In summary, one’s subjectivity was judged based on how one used pleasures. Those who use pleasure correctly—those who eat, drink, and have sex only as is suited to one’s need, time, and status—were better people, and were thus justified to hold positions of power over those who were ethically weak. This is the reason why men are valued over women and children in this assertion of knowledge: men are able to control themselves in a way that women and children cannot.
The third component of Foucauldian ethics is moral work, which consists of the actions “that one performs on oneself…to attempt to transform oneself into the ethical subject of one’s behavior.” Another word for ethical work is “self-forming activity.” In the Greek épistémè, the moral work is a kind of training, which prepares one to use pleasures correctly. Foucault quotes Xenophon on this instance: “if one does not exercise the soul, one cannot sustain the functions of the soul, so that one will not be able to ‘do what one ought to do nor avoid what one ought to do.’”
The ethical work of the Greeks rested in training the body or developing mastery over one’s own person. Through ethical work, one learned how to “face privations without suffering…[and] reduce every pleasure to nothing more than the elementary satisfaction of needs.” Once one is trained in the art of self-mastery and the proper use of pleasure, one would have the virtues necessitated to participate in the polis. Thus, for the Greeks, moral work “formed part of the paideia [education] of the free man who had a role to play in the city and in dealings with others.”
One has to be master of oneself in order to have the freedom necessary to help run the city and justify the mastery over others. The moral work taught one of continence, which is the capacity to have mastery over oneself in order to avoid improper uses of pleasure. It is the battle that takes place when pleasures are being put to proper use. Self-mastery, Foucault asserts, is “located in the axis of struggle, resistance, and combat…it is self-control…but has to struggle to maintain control.”
Foucault discusses four facets of continence before describing moral work: (1) it is a type of power struggle, (2) the struggle is against forces within oneself, (3) the mastery comes in putting pleasures to use and keeping them under control, and (4) self-mastery relates to domestic and civic life. Foucault understands continence as a kind of power struggle, arguing that “[o]ne could behave ethically only by adopting a combative attitude toward pleasures.” In short, there is a torturous relationship between oneself and one’s pursuit of pleasures. The enemy in this battle is pleasure, “whose origin and finality were natural, but whose potential, by the fact that they had their own energy, was for revolt and excess.” Once again, pleasures are not evil in themselves; the intemperate person abuses pleasures to excess, the incontinent person allows himself to be passive to pleasure, letting appetite overpower reason. The only means to avoid excess and passivity is to engage in a battle against them. Second, this battle is not an outside battle but is a battle with oneself. Foucault says that “[t]his combative relationship…was also an agonistic relationship with oneself. The battle to be fought…the victory to be won, the defeat that one risked suffering…took place between oneself and oneself.” In short, even if pleasures were themselves evil, the fault of intemperance and incontinence fell on the ethical agent. In the end, it is one’s responsibility to use pleasures correctly, so the true battle against pleasures is against ethical weakness, excessiveness, and passivity. Greek ethics is about self-mastery; one must be in a battle with oneself and win.
In summary, one must work hard at self-mastery, struggling against one’s passive pursuits of pleasure and one’s desire to seek pleasures beyond the limits of need, time, and status. Continence is a skill that is learned through practice of restriction. This is part of the preparation for leaders of the polis.
Finally, there is the moral goal of Foucauldian ethics. Foucault says that “an action is only moral in itself, in its singularity; it is also moral in its circumstantial integration…[with] a certain mode of being, a mode of being characteristic of the ethical subject.” In other words, the moral goal is the kind of person that one aspires to be by participating in ethical work. What is the free boy training for when practicing how to use pleasures correctly? The moral goal is the answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you (morally) grow up?” Sōphrosynē is the moral goal of Greek ethics. Although Aristotle holds continence and sōphrosynē as separate from each other, Foucault argues that most Greeks define one in terms of the other. Continence is the battle for sōphrosynē, and sōphrosynē is the kind of mastery exerted over pleasures and appetites. The difference between the two is that enkrateia is “an active form of self-mastery, which enables one to resist and struggle, and to achieve domination in the area of desires and pleasures;” whereas sōphrosynē is “a very general state that ensures that one will do ‘what is fitting as regards both gods and men.’” Sōphrosynē is a state of being, whereas enkrateia is the moral work that leads to this state. In other words, “enkrateia can be regarded as the prerequisite of sōphrosynē, as the form of effort and control that the individual must apply to himself in order to become moderate (sōphrōn).” Most important, sōphrosynē is directly linked to freedom. The sōphrōn is a free man, not only in terms of political citizenship, but also in terms of being free from pleasures: “[t]o be free in relation to pleasures was to be free of their authority; it was not to be their slave.” Freedom is “on equal footing with justice, courage, or prudence; that is, it was a virtue that qualified a man to exercise his mastery over others.” It is the power over oneself that qualifies one to have power over others. Foucault shows the difference between the good ruler and the tyrant as an example of this fact. Tyrants are not masters of themselves, which is why they are bad rulers over others.
In associating the moral goal to the mode of subjection as it describes the ethical substance, freedom is virile. As such, sōphrosynē is a masculine virtue for the Greeks. If submitting to pleasures and being passive to them is an immorality during the Greek épistémè, mastery over pleasures becomes the active, masculine, power necessary in the polis. Foucault says that “[s]elf-mastery was a way of being a man with respect to oneself; that is, a way of commanding what needed commanding, of coercing what was not capable of self-direction, of imposing principles of reason on what was wanting in reason; in short, it was a way of being active in relation to what was by nature passive.” This mastery places husbands over wives, masters over slaves, parents over children, and oneself over one’s appetite.
Finally, there is a relationship between freedom and truth. Foucault says that during the Greek épistémè “one could not practice moderation, without a certain form of knowledge that was at least one of its essential conditions.” Foucault describes three principle forms of the relationship between sōphrosynē and logos: (1) wisdom required moderation, for fear that knowledge will not rule within a person i.e. Plato’s account of the control of the rational part over the irrational parts in Republic; (2) practical wisdom is needed; and (3) being virtuous is needed for self-knowledge, i.e. “Know yourself” goes hand in hand with “Take care of yourself”. In summary, freedom and truth are the results of the battle for enkrateia entered into by the sōphrōn in order to gain mastery over the pursuit of pleasures. In effect, the ethically superior agent correctly uses pleasures. For Foucault, these two points sum up Greek ethics and presents the basic differences between Greek ethics and modern “morality.”
David, Luis. “Reclaiming Antiquity within the Spaces of Discipinarity: Transgression as Transcendence.” In COMIUCAP 2008 World Congress MANILA. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University, 2008.
Foucault, Michel. “On the Genealogy of Ethics: An Overview of Work in Progress.” In The Essential Foucault.
__________. “Technologies of the Self.” In The Essential Foucault.
__________. The Use of Pleasure: The History of Sexuality, Vol. 2, trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Random House, 1985.
Lamb, Andrew. “Freedom, the Self, and Ethical Practice According to Michel Foucault.” In International Philosophical Quarterly Vol.XXXV, No.4 Issue No. 140 (December 1995).
Veyne, Paul. “The Final Foucault and His Ethics.” In Critical Inquiry (Autumn 1993). trans. Catherine Porter and Arnold Davidson. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1993.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

today the drizzle sounds like tolls of death

Today the drizzle sounds like tolls of death,
Exciting nimbus clouds to seize the sun;
Rough-blowing monsoon hurls my place, Gapan,
In full momentum, robbed of Mercy’s breath.
Your moving shadow briefly comes to pass
And, like a child’s, my pained gaze longs for you;
Knowing that I’ve lost my heart anew,
I care no evil for I breathe my last.
Jasmine blossoms lose their hooded selves
Once poked by careless heaps of dismal winds;
Soft rain recedes to give way to a storm,
Ending all hopes to calm my sight that delves.
Phantoms of my loneliness deride like fiends
However I invoke your flesh to form.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

conceptualizing and arguing god's existence

St. Thomas Aquinas provided five proofs that God exists. First of these is the means that comes from the idea of motion. Everything that is moved is moved by something. This mover must be different, something else than that which is moved. However, this process cannot go on forever because there will always be the original mover, itself moved by nothing, and this mover is necessarily God. The second proof comes from the nature of efficient cause. There is a chain of causes in our experience, but something’s existence must come first before its cause. Also, the chains of efficient causes have the first cause as the cause of the middle, and these causes of the last causes, so removing the cause removes the effect. It is presupposed that there is some first efficient cause: God. The third proof comes from the nature of the possible and necessary. All things cannot be merely possible or accidents, since eventually nothing would exist. Something must have existed originally for everything else to exist, so that not all things are mere accidents because there is one necessarily existing being. Therefore, there must be something necessarily existing by its own nature, itself as the only cause of other existing things: God. The fourth proof emerges from the degrees found in things. There is always a greater and a less degree found in things. Things are greater or less depending on the degree to which they approach the greatest. Hence, there exists something that is the truest, the best and the greatest being. The cause of the existence, of the goodness and of perfection of things is God. The last proof emerges from the sequence of things that are ultimate part of a grand plan. Things that are beyond understanding operate through the order of some higher authority so they do the action not by chance but by purpose. An intelligent being called God has things arranged according to a plan.
In his arguments, Aquinas demonstrates his confidence in the capacity of human reason to arrive at or explain some knowledge, albeit imperfect, of God. God appeals to humans as some inexplicable being whose mystery inspired many humans to pursue the unlocking of this mystery. In doing so, they used their reason because belief alone cannot suffice an explanation regarding the divine. Skeptical minds need to be convinced with rational explanations, notwithstanding if there are others who have enough faith to require no more elaboration.
Paul Tillich also accepts the necessity of human conceptualizations of God, but he instead emphasizes its limits, thus arriving at the conclusion that religious language is necessarily symbolic. God appeals to humans differently depending on beliefs and cultures, through which appeals they imagine God. No matter how imaginative humans can get regarding God, their humanity will reach certain limitations. This limit requires the language by which religion shapes divine imaginings as symbolic. They must become representations of something else so that their varied notions of God will still manage to meet a universal point. The religious language becomes that unifying factor among the different conceptualizations about God.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

ang postkolonyalismo sa palabas

Sa librong Palabas: Essays on Philippine Theater History, naipamalas ni Doreen Fernandez na nauugnay sa pagbuo ng identidad ng bansa ang palabas. Sa pamamagitan ng pagsusuri ng katutubong teatro sa lahat ng porma at panahon nito mula pistahan hanggang paaralan, mula bodabil hanggang teatro gerilya, naipakita na higit pa sa pagbibigay-aliw o kasiyahan ang nagawa, nagagawa at magagawa ng mga artista, manunulat at buong produksyon ng palabas. Nagamit ang teatro bilang instrumento ng protesta laban sa mga mananakop sa bisa ng nilalaman nitong mapagpalaya o subersibong adhikain, lantad man ito o gumagamit ng mga simbolong kumakatawan sa inaaliping bayan at sa nagpapahirap na dayuhang mananakop. Naging kasangkapan pa rin ang palabas upang maipamalas ng taumbayan na angkin nila ang teatro sa bisa ng pagtalakay nito sa kanilang kasaysayan at pang-araw-araw na pamumuhay o sa kakayanang bigyang imahinasyon ang buhay ng mga nakaaangat sa lipunan. Salat man sila sa materyal na yaman, hindi ito balakid sa masang higit na bumubuo sa bansa upang hindi makapagtanghal sa mga lansangan at makatotohanang salaminin ang mga pangyayari sa lipunan. Sa mga instrumentalisasyong ito naikikintal ng palabas ang paraan kung paano itinatanghal ng bayan ang kanyang kasaysayan. Samakatuwid, nabubuo ng Pilipinas ang kanyang pagkabansa sa pamamagitan ng palabas dahil lehitimo itong talaang panlipunan at tagpuan ito ng mga hangarin, himagsik, imahinasyon at pagkakakilanlan ng taumbayan.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

defending balintawak

The Filipino Katipuneros announced their rebellion against the Spanish colonial government in what is popularly known as “Cry of Balintawak,” a spot northeast of Manila, in August 1896. Katipunan leader Andres Bonifacio led the tearing of the cedula or tax receipts before all members cheered boisterously. Emilio Aguinaldo’s commissioned “Hymn of Balintawak” immortalized such a defining moment of Katipunan as well as of the historic place.
While a monument of the heroes of 1896 was erected in the intersection of EDSA and Andres Bonifacio Drive-North Diversion Road, Apolonio Samson’s house in Kaingin Road between Balintawak and San Francisco del Monte Avenue in Barrio Kangkong is the reputed site of the “Cry.”
Bonifacio gathered the leaders and hundreds of comrades-in-arms in the hills of Balintawak north of Manila and, in a ceremony bursting with emotions, the fighters shredded their residence certificates to symbolize the end of their loyalty to Spain while shouting the battle cry: "Long live Philippine independence!"
Eyewitness accounts point to Balintawak as the renowned reference of the “Cry,” which historians picked up for the books. For instance, Dr. Pio Valenzuela stated before the Olive Court that the Katipunan meetings occurred from Sunday to Tuesday (August 23-25, 1896) at Apolonio Samson’s house in Balintawak.
Specifically, the Cry took place in Balintawak on August 23 in that particular spot. Pugad Lawin as a name only existed after the turn of the century so it is more historically accurate to sustain the original “Cry of Balintawak” rather than resort to the more romantic “Pugad Lawin.”
The events of Katipunan meetings and attacks on August 17-26 1896 occurred closer to Balintawak than to Kalookan, the general area where Pugad Lawin may be found. By tradition, Filipinos referred to the “Cry of Balintawak” since that barrio was a better known reference point than Banlat, where Pugad Lawin (a hawk’s nest on top of a tall sampaloc tree at Gulod, the highest elevated place close to Balintawak) specifically is.

Friday, August 08, 2008

the king who would be teacher

Granted that you have pursued Bachelor of Secondary Education majoring in that nerds’ science considered chickenfeed by Newton, Einstein and the like. Physics, anything else? Who will not be mistaken that beneath the killer looks of a very cute teacher such as you lurks a specialty on the mathematical science of natural matter and measured energy, the mere encounter of which subject speedily kills all anti-Physics students’ grades?
But then, you proceed to practice your noble profession and receive the baptism of fire in your foremost foray into teaching. You enter the class full of naughty guys hurling crumpled papers across the room or against one another and silly-acting girls giggling and shivering at the grand entrance of an adorable new hunk whom they surmise as a transferee, if not a lost student from another section. A visibly infatuated young lady offers you a seat next her: “No thanks,” you decline, “my seat awaits me at the rostrum next to the blackboard.” The whole class falls in a quick smite of paralysis when you authoritatively introduce the subject Physics, thermodynamics, quantum, etc.
Each session for both you and your class is a red-painted day, not because it goes like holiday but because it is red-alert day, as in all of you are in an atmosphere of calamity. You are good in teaching every lesson, okay, but only a quarter of your students seem to understand, most of whom even have the heart to staple “To Sir with Love” notes whenever they pass test papers/requirements. The rest of the girls either stare pointlessly at the velocity and vector formulas you have written on the board, reflect the blankness of their minds courtesy of their un-inked test answer sheets, or vividly discuss during recess yet another (though more of an emotional burden) “Physics”—your fair physique. Several boys, meanwhile, have showed sharper interest in Physical Education and Biology than in your taught subject. Aah, headache!
Your students’ daily maxims include, “A potential energy within is quite kinetic because of Mr. Loyola,” “The density of Sir’s inspiration is directly proportional to the gravity of his specialization,” “If only I were resistant of inertia, I would confirm Sir Karlo’s theory that I enjoy the law of buoyancy.” You want to admit that however you apply centrifugal force on the center of attraction, your equilibrium is disturbed, but because patience and fortitude are expected of you, you remain static. You are a teacher, that’s why.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

gender relations in canterbury tales

The Canterbury Tales makes for a good example of a piece of literature which was informed by the gender ideologies of its time. Since patriarchal ideology dominated during the period, it was but expectable that male dominion and the attendant female subordination were the norm and which eventually influenced the literary work and may be reflected from it. Hence, various forms of authority by men and many works of oppression on women were manifested in the tales so far taken in class. These tales and their narrators are proofs of how gender relations were imagined during Geoffrey Chaucer’s milieu.
The patriarchal male as macho is evident in the knight and his tale, in the reeve’s tale, in the man of law and his tale, in the last husband of the wife of Bath and her tale, and in the clerk’s tale. The knight, for instance, possesses ideal qualities that have been socially constructed as male: strong in order to stand the rigors of war, gentlemanly in order to show refinement and chivalry, and brave in order to pursue a career in the military as well as engage in duels. These knightly qualities, which are possessed by the characters in his own tale, eventually found themselves precipitating up to the modern times, causing conflicts among relating genders: men are considered strong only because they have relatively more powerful physiology, men view women as the perpetual damsels in distress for men to rescue, and physical fights present the best means of showing courage. Meanwhile, in the reeve’s tale, the avenging students showed their virility by sleeping with the miller’s daughter and spouse. Using women as objects, these men squished the machismo of the miller in order to show him that the upper hand is always gained by the more macho of the lot. As for the man of law, he subscribes to the idea of the man of honor by keeping his words about telling his tale. A real man, it is socially constructed, does not break his promise under the pains of being called fickle-minded, a trait pejoratively alluded to women. What is more, the man of law does as he preaches, advising the crowd that the laws given to others must also be followed, as real men are inclined to do. In his tale, the Father of Constance decides to marry her off, an instance wherein the male will foists itself on a woman’s and it should not be defied, much less questioned. Meanwhile, the last, much younger husband of the wife of Bath acts out his machismo by beating her up and reading misogynist texts. It may be gleaned from these actions that the wife of Bath’s husband resorts to both physical and psychological violence in order to prove that he rules over her. In her story, these two types of violence figure when the knight rapes a nymph. This use of force against a woman is, of course, a power tripping on a man’s part. Finally, in the clerk’s tale, the marquee chooses a wife from the lower class in order to contain her within his influence, from the time he marries her to the times when he asks her to surrender their children for murder. Other than the prevalence of male will, there is nothing more to explain why it was necessary for the marquee’s wife to submit to her husband’s absurd wishes. These aforementioned examples from The Canterbury Tales are evident of the onslaught of machismo in their many nuances. While these appeared in a literary work, they are nonetheless an unerring record of social truths during Chaucer’s context. It is only disturbing that not much has changed if the predominant machismo of the contemporary times will be compared to its medieval predecessor.
On the other hand, the patriarchal product of the Madonna/whore binary is expressed in these same tales. In the knight’s tale, Emily was once shown asking the Goddess of Beauty to sustain her virginity, which provides an insight into the mind of a woman regarding the degree to which she values her chastity, her attempt at oneness with the ideal woman that’s the Blessed Virgin Mary. Also, she is the object of a vicious rivalry between Palamon and Arcite, a case which shows how men treat women as a territory to be conquered and fought over. Her passivity implies that whoever wins from the battling suitors, the romantic stake that she is does not even have a say on her own fate. In the reeve’s tale, for instance, the miller’s daughter and wife were shown to be passively objectified by the avenging students. The daughter, in particular, was presented in the tale as not having protested while she was being defiled. In which case, she seemed to be waiting for her own deflowering. When she actually cried, it was to manifest her joy at having had a good time with her defiler. Meanwhile, the mother also fell victim as the other student made a sex object out of her. Thinking he was her husband, she was ready to submit herself to the student’s sensual whims. She was being violated and she was unknowing all along. In the man of law’s tale, Constance is for the most part a silent suffering woman who gets married off without so much as a pronouncement on her destiny as a wife. Likewise, in the murderous circumstances in which she figured inextricably, she was expected to show Christian virtues because the male-informed Judeo-Christian religion extols the Virgin Mother for her silent suffering, which Constance must emulate. By extension, whatever suffering a wife undergoes, even if it is caused by the husband, she must fall silent because this womanly virtue will somehow be rewarded. Meanwhile, the wife of Bath is the archetypal slut who uses her body in order to get money from her previous husbands. Her vulgarity is unbecoming of a woman of her rich class, although it should not be lost that she practically commodified her body in order to be wedded to her current socioeconomic status. Also, not in any husband of hers was she ultimately submissive, a fact that shows her defiance of the gender conventions of her time. Her strong personality was not contained even by her batterer of a young husband. While she is already the opposite of the ideal woman, she is not even apologetic about it, making her all the more the wild woman archetype. In her tale, a nymph gets raped, rather ironically, by a supposedly virtuous knight. This is a sample of the reduced treatment of a woman as a person of dignity. What is more, this crime against women takes an ugly turn when in the end, the perpetrator gets a trophy of a wife apart from being granted amnesty from a death sentence. Also, the rapist who is horrified over his hag of a wife is a reflected image of men who objectify women by nurturing a male dream in which women are beautiful and doting. The perfect woman is one that fulfills the male fantasy of the kitchen caretaker as well as bed attendant. Anything less like an undesirable hag is to be dismissed as non-wife material. Finally, in the clerk’s tale, the marquee’s wife is the paragon of submissiveness because she remains obedient to her husband despite his criminal proclamations. Right in the beginning, she does not so much as protest not having to decide her marital fate. She is not supposed to defy the marquee even though the lives of her own children are at risk. In essence, she is an active participant to the slaughter of her very offspring, which case puts her ideal meekness to a fault.
These portrayals of men and women of the English society from which The Canterbury Tales was produced are accurate descriptions of gender relations during that time because the gender ideologies of the period were propagated by such apparatuses as the Church, the State and the home. Being so, the consciousness seemed too natural to be interrogated, especially with the authority invested on the abovementioned apparatuses. There may be departures from these ideologies but that entailed ostracism from the institution whose perpetuated ideology was challenged, so it was likely that the biased setup might have gone unquestioned, especially in consideration of the subject’s marginalized position. For those who dared deviate from the norm, their subversion of the ideology was a telling statement that they attempted to liberate themselves from gender stereotypes and, in effect, were able to celebrate their identity that’s so much different from everybody else because it is their own.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

the foucauldian crime and punishment: the manila city jail case

At the Recto Terminal of the Light Rail Transit-2, one can see the Manila City Jail (MCJ) right across the platform. There, amid the mushrooming makeshift shanties along squatted properties, octopus connections of illegally wired electricity cables and motley of printing-based businesses from document forgery to tattooing to second-hand books, the Manila City Jail rises with all its ravaged glory. Parametered by Oroquieta Street, Recto Avenue and Quezon Boulevard, the Manila City Jail is the Old Bilibid Prison constructed by the Spanish government during the 1800’s. It was the Philippines’ national penitentiary until the prewar when the Muntinlupa-based New Bilibid Prison opened its penal doors. Then, the Japanese Occupation of the Open City made the Old Bilibid the house of prisoners of war. When most prisoners were transferred to the New Bilibid, the Old Bilibid complex was entrusted to the city of Manila which turned the Old Bilibid into the Manila City Jail. Its current warden is Jail Supt. Renato Gacutan.
From the LRT-2 vantage point, one may see the rusty gates of the MCJ. The walls encircling the MCJ probably reach 25-30 feet high. Apart from the visible mosque inside, there is the main office in the middle and nine other towers surrounding the MCJ. Guards are loitering outside the middle watchtower, which makes them somewhat visible, while many others are staying within the office. There is a guard walking around the perimeter wall. According to the guard based in LRT-2 Recto Station, prisoners go out every time they get their food and gleaning from the prisoners allowed to talk with one another and wander outside, it must be mealtime. There are also makeshift houses inside the jail called barracks which the prisoners built so their visitors can stay when they visit.
Originally erected to house 1,000 prisoners, the MCJ presently crams about 5,300 inmates on a 1.2-hectare facility, making the quintuple overcapacity rate among the worst over-congestions in the country’s notoriously-conditioned jail facilities. What is worse apart from the building’s decrepitude, the facilities are needing major repairs, the staff are lacking and the huge multitude of prisoners endure standing the whole day because the physics-defying absence of space does not allow inmates to sit or slump on the floor. The 5,300 prisoners of the MCJ are legally classified as detention prisoners, city prisoners and youth offenders. These prisoners, whether undergoing trial or convicted, are mixed heterogeneously in the MCJ. The MCJ has four major compounds containing four groups separated by ethnicity and gender. The males and the females are housed separately, but the juvenile delinquents share houses with the adult prisoners, and so do the mentally ill with the mentally sound as well as the physically sick with the physically healthy, as opposed to the United Nations Standard for Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners. All the compounds are segregated from one another by fences and walls and have a main hall and a main dormitory with bare facilities. The women’s dorm may be found on the gate’s left side next to the Medical Infirmary while the men’s are behind the Paralegal Office just beyond the Administration Office, Rehabilitation Office and Operations. Each dormitory is cramped and poorly-lit and –ventilated, which makes it scorching hot for most of the times and malodorous despite scrubbing of strong disinfectants. Hence, inmates are susceptible to tuberculosis and skin diseases like boils, infections and different allergies. While rich inmates have condominiums or spaces separating them from other inmates by wooden walls and less rich ones have apartments which they share with one to three others, poor ones ordinarily sleep on floors with no beddings at all except rice or flour sacks or newspapers and, rarely, pillows and blankets. It is harrowing that inmates go on shifting whenever they sleep on the uncovered floors. Also, these inmates subsist on a 35-peso budget allowance on three-meal food and sanitation apart from the allocation for drinking water, which is scarce due to malfunctioning pipelines. Prison food is usually composed of rice and cheap viands like canned sardines but when donations come during, say, Christmas time, there are canned meat and vegetable stew. The usual food supply, owing to limitations in both number and nutritional value, is rice mixed with sardines prepared from a cauldron. These inmates are scantly removed from the noisy city life with the MCJ’s placement near two shopping malls (Isetann and Odeon) and stores, railway stations, major thoroughfares and a university (Far Eastern University), making it seem oblivious to the idea of tucking criminals away from the hustle and bustle of the society in order to rehabilitate and reform them. However, as this study will testify, this placement of the MCJ in the web of social landmarks is strategic rather than erratic.
The Manila City Jail is a fine example of Michel Foucault’s study of the modern penal system in Discipline and Punish. It may be analyzed to prove that in the milieu of the City of Manila, the Foucauldian concept of punishment exists. True, the key punishments of public execution and corporal punishment as well as the ceremonial torture directed at the criminal’s body during investigations have been reduced to symbols but the MCJ, like any other penal colony, may be considered public spectacles meant to reaffirm the power of the police authority. As such, the reform for punishment from the bodily torture to the publicly displayed theater of a jail is less for the prisoner’s welfare than for the efficient operation of power. The possibility of languishing in the City Jail serves as Manila residents’ hindrance to lawbreaking.
Manila is a far cry from the punitive cities of old where public executions used to be staged. Disciplines proved to be a crucial element in this difference. In MCJ, discipline is used as a pattern of techniques to control its prisoners’ bodily operation. By their imprisonment, the MCJ prisoners have forced, mechanized movements in order to limit their experience of time and space. The duration of their conviction in MCJ serves as their timetable device, their routinary prisoner roll call serves as their military drill device, and their prison exercise is meant to create individuals out of their nameless mass. MCJ prisoners undergo exercise with their attempt to impose progressively complicated activities on their body in order to regulate it. They perform drills and engage in physical training.
Discipline is employed by the prison administrators in order to control the prisoners’ movement and operation constantly. It is via discipline that entire populations are controlled, and is the same technique that works in regulating the populace of Manila. It was revealed that prisoners are so afraid of jail guards because one inmate so much as approached the gate and that inmate got a vigorous blow at the back by the infuriated jail guard.
The MCJ in particular and the City of Manila in general cannot have existed in the absence of the idea of mass regulation of movement and people. The MCJ exemplifies the disciplinary power of hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment and examination, which are instrumentalized by the MCJ’s guards’ and the public’s observation and gaze. Hence, the prisoners as well as the entire city get normalized. Norm is the average standard from the human sciences that measures people and since the MCJ prisoners fall short of the normal sane, law abiding, and obedient citizens, they exist as abnormal for their criminality and deviance. The norm of Manilans may be set against the MCJ prisoners’ deviance in order to assess and control the former’s categories and, in effect, to make the latter conform to normal and decrease the rate at which inescapable, harmful deviance emerges.
The MCJ patterns itself from the panopticon wherein the prisoners are shown to be supervised and regulated with efficiency via the main tower of an office in the center of MCJ. In this prison, the Foucauldian idea of discipline works. Its prisoners are obviously deprived of their freedom to live in the mainstream society of Manila and are being reformed while inside the City Jail. They also undergo the penitentiary wherein their imprisonment gets infused with the hospital by virtue of the process of rehabilitation inside the jail and the workshop by virtue of the process of rendering labor. The penitentiary of the MCJ more than just deprives the prisoners’ freedom by rendering them to work, and by being observed and treated in the prison hospital. Foucauldian concept of prison system incorporates workshop, prison and hospital. Afterwards, they will undergo the delinquent, which is created by the jail to weed out the prisoners’ popular behavior by responding to the modifications in the prisoners’ misconduct. There may be the inherent failure of prisons like the MCJ, but this failure in combination with operation makes the carceral system of MCJ. The carceral system of the MCJ shows its architecture, its controlling mechanisms and its employees. MCJ’s carceral system moves from there to the mainstream Manila society, proven by the network of power in the forms of the transport system, the academe, and the businesses. Its elements are the discipline of the MCJ, the formulation of the logical technique for administering its prisoners, the rise of criminality in the society and the reform strategies. Hence, this system and MCJ itself aim to generate delinquency in the prisoners in order to structure and regulate crime. After becoming a prisoner, the MCJ inmate becomes a delinquent, fashioned out of the operation of the carceral system and the human sciences and severely divided from other popular illegal activities. The MCJ delinquent is integral to the tiny, toughened group of criminals that is associated with the low class. Being defined as abnormal, he is analyzed and regulated by the mechanisms of MCJ. As a delinquent, the MCJ inmate is easier to observe and regulate than the criminal and is obviously separated from the rest of Manila society. The delinquents of MCJ are more manageable than their alternatives of criminals hanging around the city because they are easily identified. They figure as an answer to the dangers of the lower classes, which are too many to be categorized, much less deal with. With how delinquency works in MCJ, the administrators succeed. MCJ’s interspersion in the power network that includes the pedagogical institution of the Far Eastern University among others in the university belt, the transportation institutions of the Light Rail Transit-2 and jeepneys plying in the Recto, Avenida and Quezon Boulevard areas, the commercial institutions of the Isetann Mall and Odeon Mall, the printshops, the Divisoria stalls and the fly-by-night pirates, and the sovereign power of the Malacañang Palace is a societal strategy that establishes MCJ’s real function and underpins itself in the Manila’s modern society. As such, the discourse in which MCJ figures makes the prison central to the idea of punishment since it cannot be abolished, lacking any alternative for MCJ.
It is understandable that MCJ’s institutional origin harks back to the Spanish Colonial period, which was itself informed by the mother colonizer’s exposure to the modern world’s generation of typical institutions and structures, along with the human sciences and regulatory mechanisms like psychology, psychiatry, sociology, criminology and medicine, all of which form a constellation of power which defines and control human behavior through norms and its opposite, deviation. Penality is used by the MCJ as a specific system of investigation and punishment. In this system, the MCJ prisoners, being lawbreakers, are examined and treated. The MCJ’s prison and the supervision and regulation of the convicts are the very basis of Manila district’s system of penality. Meanwhile, the Foucauldian concept of power, the relationship between individuals wherein one influences another’s behavior, may be seen in the MCJ setup. The ones with power in MCJ, the jail personnel, restrict and change the prisoners’ will in order to make these formerly free people do what they would never do otherwise. In the MCJ setup, this is the existing human relationship that is relatively stable and unchangeable. The action of punishment is the established power of the dominant personnel over the prisoners. Since human sciences are being applied in the MCJ, they possess knowledge and power which enable them to control and exclude people. The delinquents of the MCJ are the dominated in the system of power relations within. They suffer exclusion because the power of human sciences being applied in MCJ generates a claim to truth: the prisoners prove to be anomalies to the norm that exists in Manila society by virtue of the socially harmful crimes that they committed.
Considering that such committed crimes are plagues to the modern society of Manila, the MCJ is the institution in which measures are being taken: the jail spaces are partitioned and this large house is closed off from the rest of Manila, with the MCJ personnel constantly inspecting and registering the prisoners. Within MCJ, processes of behavioral quarantine and purification take place, a means for the plague of crime to be met by order aimed at creating a disciplined community. The sets of techniques being applied in MCJ for measuring and observing the prisoners are the disciplinary mechanisms spawned by the fear of criminal acts. One such mechanism is MCJ’s own panopticon, the building whose central tower is the vantage point at which incarcerated prisoners may be viewed. The prisoner’ visibility is a trap since they are seen but cannot communicate with other prisoners, much less their warders. This sense of perpetual visibility created by the panopticon is meant to ensure the operation of MCJ’s power. The prisoners may see the tower but the power of which cannot be verified because they do not know from which point they are being viewed. This laboratory of power wherein experiments function over prisoners is a model of defined power relations between the MCJ personnel and prisoners in their daily interaction within the prison. It is a diagram of power whose operation is idealized because all the prisoners can be controlled but only a few MCJ staff are needed to make the panopticon function. This architectural design is meant to give the staff power over the prisoner’s minds. Hence, there is less risk of tyrannical jaibreak on the part of the prisoners because they can be inspected from atop the tower. Since power emanating from the MCJ panopticon proves efficient, it helps in the development of the economy by making businesses in the Divisoria area possible, it spreads education with the rise of the University Belt, among other social developments. The MCJ panopticon symbolizes the subordination of prisoners’ bodies while needing neither the Manila mayor’s office nor the Malacañang Palace in its midst.
The MCJ’s panopticon symbolizes the manner wherein discipline and punishment operate in modern Manila. By looking at it, one sees the way processes of observation and examination function in this diagram of power. The concept of discipline wherein all prisoners are supervised and analyzed is represented in the MCJ panopticon which makes the supervision and analysis easy to conduct. This building develops out of the necessity for observation of the criminals. Criminal measures within the MCJ are necessary to protect Manila because its panopticon permits power to operate economically owing to its functional, permanent building. In the MCJ community, discipline is based on observation and examination, the methods of coercion that oversee the whole of prison colony. The MCJ Main Office, situated in the center of the complex, oversees the prisoners who, surprisingly, are not punished for chatting with one another while being allowed to flow out for the mealtime, even with the loitering guards in view.
It is not accidental that Manila, a relatively urban society, offers greater opportunities for control and observation than, say, less sophisticated societies in the Philippine countryside. This modern society is assumed to see Manilans as free citizens entitled to make specific demands on the city officials. It may be best understood with the mechanisms (i.e. MCJ) that also regulate and examine Manila citizens. This examination is spread out in the vicinity of the MCJ, itself an examining institution for prisoners. Universities in the U-Belt area, for instance, resemble the MCJ in terms of their examination of the collegiate students who are categorized as individuals and are made to conform to the existing norm in Manila. It must be pointed out that these students spend the formative years of their lives in their universities, hence their normative behavior. This is not to mention that these universities, along with hospitals and factories, look architecturally similar to the observational modern penal instrument that the MCJ is.
This integration of the MCJ into the Manila society of academes, businesses, transport systems and sovereign power is significant because abolishing the prison is unimaginable in consideration of its deep-rooted attachment in society. Granted that prisons get abolished, Manila cannot resort to practical alternatives because punishing the criminals of Manila centers on imprisoning them. The complicated institution of the MCJ is an extension of the mechanisms of supervision and examination operating beyond its walls, i.e. Far Eastern University. In the MCJ, the prisoners’ behaviors get recorded, their mental condition evaluated, and the abnormality studied, not to mention that they are constantly supervised. The MCJ’s foremost aim, it must be remembered, is to wrest away its prisoners’ freedom, with the secondary aims of reforming their characters via exercise, workshop and training. This shows why the MCJ is a penitentiary where the combination of the various operations of workshop engages prisoners with the system of production in order to maximize prison power. This economization of the MCJ prisoners’ functioning redefines them from being prisoners to delinquents. This modification calls for the individuals’ becoming the subjects of knowledge, which is what the penitentiary is also about. They are observed and classified through the particular technical means of criminology, so the MCJ prisoners are entangled in the complex relationship between MCJ’s disciplinary power and the knowledge it spawns.
The MCJ, however, is not quite successful as a penal remedy. It fails at reforming delinquency but the carceral system reorganizes knowledge about crime instead of eliminating it. The concept that MCJ contains its own failure is a decided paradox, then, because the technique was still adopted and the prison remains existent rather than abolished. The MCJ is like a psychiatric institution in marking out and isolating the abnormal or lawbreaking elements of Manila. In performing this, it produces the prisoners that can be regulated for various uses by the state. This is not to say that MCJ only creates crime but that this illegality on the part of the prisoners justifies the existence of the carceral system. The prisoners’ behaviors which violate the law must be controlled through delinquency. Since a delinquent is less illegal compared to a criminal, delinquents in the MCJ may be easily identified and regulated using the similar techniques functioning in the rest of the society, thereby power struggle may be resolved in the form of the wider system of discipline that’s the prison and the carceral system.
The MCJ is a site where the prison, the penitentiary and the carceral system are strung in their respective places. Specifically, the carceral system goes beyond the walls of MCJ in order to link the prison to the rest of Manila by a network of academic, transport, corporate and state power which molds everybody’s life in Manila. Why the strategy of placing MCJ in the midst of this network of power? Foucault’s bathe-and-switch gives the answer. In this manner, the penitentiary was established to rehabilitate the criminals in order to decrease the crime rate. The people, in this case Manilans, do not raise a ruckus out of it by trusting that the advocates of penitentiary will deliver their goals. The failure lies in continued manufacturing of criminals in and outside the jail. Without these outlaws, however, governance will hardly exist. Therefore, it is necessary for this institution to fail because with its remedial techniques, there will be constituency which can impose all kinds of governance. This makes the carceral system powerful. Taken as a whole, the MCJ is thus architecturally structured and strategically operated in order to make the inmates behave in such a way that they will be disciplined and reformed. The MCJ and its relationship with the entire Manila society are indispensable owing to the prison’s close integration to the city. As MCJ proves, the prison is not a forgotten building sitting at the margins of the city. The strategies of power and knowledge actually function in both MCJ and Manila since the mechanism regulating the delinquent likewise controls the citizens. Since crime is a result of civilization, bearing within it a figure and a future, the penitentiary is a manner at which the undesirable may be excluded. The contradiction of the whole lot affirms that crime has the possibility of wielding itself against the civilization that generated it.