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The J Spotter

Personal insights from the J Spot author J. Angelo Racoma
( this site has moved to http://jangelo.racoma.net )

The J Spotter » Misdirected Aggression (On Pat Evangelista's "CRAZED: Filipino Idol")

Misdirected Aggression (On Pat Evangelista's "CRAZED: Filipino Idol")

Another "anonymous" comment (no blogger account) to my original post on Ms. Patricia Evangelista's "CRAZED" article entitled "Filipino Idol." This was left by a certain Ube Juan Kanduli (UB1).

I thought, again, that the comment deserved a blog post in itself.

Note that the emphases (in bold) are mine. It's quite a long read, so I thought I'd highlight some points.

-Angelo


Anonymous said...

This is my response to Patricia Evangelista’s article specifically in reference to “the Filipino People who chose to leave.” I've posted on annonymous because I don't have a log on to this site yet but I'll sign my name at the end.

I would like to offer some fact to Patricia regarding “Filipinos who chose to leave.”

1. Working abroad, enduring the loneliness of being apart from their loved ones, many overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) console themselves with the thought of the money that they can send to their family back home.

For them, the sacrifice is worth it because they can generally earn more abroad. OFWs diligently remit money back to the Philippines—to send their children to college, pay for the household expenses, or help out a younger sibling or needy relative. The money sent back to the Philippines by Filipinos working abroad has become a vital component of the national economy, which is why OFWs have been dubbed as modern-day heroes.
Source: Manna from abroad, Posted: 1:46 AM (Manila Time) | Aug. 15, 2002 Inquirer News Service with INQ7.net

2. Presidential spokesperson Ignacio Bunye … a “substantial chunk” of the gross national product comes from the OFW’s remittances. Last year, 7 million Filipinos working or living abroad sent an estimated eight billion dollars, an amount nearly equal to the country’s agricultural output.”
Source: Global news, 30 Oct 2004

3. Remittances are an important source of income for many developing countries. According to the World Bank, $111 million was remitted worldwide in 2001. Of this, about 65 percent went to developing countries, with half of that money going to countries considered to be “lower-middle income countries.” For some countries, remittances are a major source of foreign exchange and are an important addition to their gross domestic product.

Top Ten Remittance Recipients Among Developing Countries, 2001
1. Mexico $ 9,920,000
2. India $ 9,160,000
3. Philippines $ 6,366,000
Source: Remittances from the United States in Context, By Kevin O’Neil, Migration Policy Institute, June 1, 2003

The data above probably does not include remittance from permanent residents in Europe, South America, Australia, New Zealand, etc. where our kababayans (countrymen) chose to follow where their opportunities can take them. It also does not include retirees’ choosing to retire in the Philippines and bringing back with them their dollar pensions. Yes, we are in the millions “who chose to leave” the Philippines. One bad apple doesn’t make the whole basket rotten. You take it out and throw it away. One bad experience with your favorite food doesn’t make you stop eating it again. Before you condemn us all to hell think what we have done for the Philippines and will continue to do in the future. Recommend you set your sights within the Philippines not towards us “who chose to leave.” Set you sights not on people who send or bring money back to the Philippines but to those who take it out in the millions of dollars at the expense of Mr. Juan de la Cruz (Filipino taxpayer). There are plenty of (awful) people in the Philippines to condemn to hell.

Patricia Evangelista is the daughter of couple of my “teenhood” friends and it is with a heavy heart that I am writing about this unfortunate affair. Even if I have read or heard her speech in London beforehand I will react to the article supposedly the same way no more and no less. My reaction will still be objective and non-personal. Her aunt objected when I recommended a “chill pill” and “reality check” for Patricia.

I recommended a “chill pill” for Patricia because condemning us “who chose to leave” is a very harsh reaction just because she had a bad experience with a close family friend.

I recommended a “reality check” in defense of those “modern heroes” (8 million of us) who chose to leave the Philippines bringing in revenue, honor and recognition to the Filipino people.

Yes Patricia’s speech was beautiful. Winning the competition gives credit to herself and Filipinos around the world. However, such accomplishment does not give her the right to “condemn us all to hell on a handcart.”

Remember, you may receive thousands of “at-a-girl” but it only takes one “oh shit” and you may find yourself back to square one.


Some of my friends said I took her article “out of context.” Yes of course I did in defense of the 8 million Filipinos who do not know her. I’m not discounting Patricia’s speech or her accomplishment. On the contrary I‘m very proud of her for winning the London competition and for being a Filipino. However, after reading her article and speech several times I still came out with the same conclusion – misdirected aggression. Or, should I say frustration. I can understand her resentment towards their family friend but to condemn all of us to hell because of one bad experience, I believe is uncalled for and irresponsible. Like I said one bad apple doesn’t make the whole harvest rotten. If Patricia was upset and defended the Philippines and Filipinos, because of the comment of a family friend who left the country, stating that she was glad she left this “god-awful country of ours”... and awful Filipino people, then Patricia should have used the words “our family friend” instead of “Filipinos who chose to leave.” Or, she should have specifically condemning their family friend instead of referring to the 8 million plus Filipinos who chose to leave.

Carefully analyze her words. She wrote, “I condemned the Filipinos who chose to leave, said they deserved to be pushed down the road to hell on a handcart. Traitors and turncoats, I called them.” I’m not native of the English language and I still have difficulties with it sometimes but I think there’s no mistake about my interpretation (regardless whether written by an 18 or 58 year old). She didn’t condemn her family friend (or the likes of them) that caused her torment. She condemned “the Filipinos who chose to leave.” Regardless of her bad experience and or her inspiration that generated the winning speech, 8 million people minus one family friend should have been spared from her wrath.

Freedom of speech as her aunt mentioned is a very wonderful thing however it must be accompanied by responsibility. I should know – I’ve been defending freedom for 25 years. You can not shout “FIRE” inside a crowded theater without the risk of causing harm due to a possible stampede and invoke your right to “freedom of speech.” Or, change lane in a busy freeway with no proper signal and maneuver without risking an accident and say I’m entitled to “freedom of movement.” With population explosion compounded by internet technology the world is not as big as it used to be. Freedom comes with responsibility. You don’t just shoot from the hip. You need to consider collateral damage. I acknowledge Patricia’s motives to be admirable and honorable but her frustration should be managed and her aggression needs to be guided to the right direction. Eight million people don’t deserve to be condemned to hell on a handcart.

Ube Juan Kanduli (UB1) 11/12/2004 12:18:59 PM
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Patricia did err in picking up the Faye story but let me defend her for a moment regarding her opinion on Filipinos working abroad. The reality is those dollar figures you mentioned are great. It certainly infuses money to a cash strapped nation like ours. But think for a minute - if this trend of sending our best people abroad continues unabated, we will just be a nation of absentee fathers and mothers, all for the sake of the almighty dollar. Are supposed to be simply contented with sending our children to go abroad once they get their education? What about our own infrastructure? Do we stop improving it? Is this a reason why our children cannot get good jobs at home so they have to pack their bags and work abroad?

G. USHBAN

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Saturday, November 13, 2004 1:54:00 AM  




Did it ever occured to you that "no one in our government have figured out a way to keep its citizens at home and keep the country from being drained out of good and educated people", instead the government just sat back on its fat ass and watch as millions of our countrymen scattered all around the globe to find a better future.

Posted by Blogger Guy Rendon on Saturday, November 13, 2004 2:03:00 AM  




If our idea of sustaining our nation is from OFW remittances on a permanent basis then we are in deeeep trouble. It is a resource we can use but in the long term we need to to get our act together at home, activate and energize our local synergies using our very own local human and natural resources if we were to survive well as a nation. It sounds impossible but certainly doable, maybe not now but sometime in the future.

G. USHBAN

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Saturday, November 13, 2004 5:28:00 AM  




G Ushban..off topic..any suggestion on where we start? Can you identify at least 5 areas where we have problems and how we can solve the problems so Filipinos can opt not to leave their children? In the meantime, while there are still no solutions..can we still stay overseas? We can't be sitting on our asses while solutions are being conceptualized.

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Saturday, November 13, 2004 7:44:00 PM  




I can think of a 2 very serious implications off the bat both of the very imporant issue of family,,

a. Rearing up a generation children with absentee fathers, or mothers for that matter. If we have millions of OFWs, meaning we have millions of children who grow up without the emotional support of their parents.

b. The importance of marriage relationship is greatly diminished. I have seen OFW's going abroad for as long as 10 years and sometimes even longer. YOu have only one life to live, Is the sacrifice of not being together with your soulmate for such long years worth it?

These two things have been put in the back burner for the sake of money. In reality, some folks have thought of OFW as a lifetime career when it's not meant to be.
Some are already well off and have given themselves some measure of financial security but they still choose to go back.. for more.

G.USHBAN

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Saturday, November 13, 2004 9:13:00 PM  




G. USHBAN,

Thank you for your comments. My posting was not about the politics and morality of the Filipino brain/brawn drain. It was about Patricia's condemnation. Yes Patricia is entitled to her opinion. Everyone has opinions. But, condemning us to hell on a hand cart I believe is unwarranted and very irresponsible. But since we are on the subject I beg to differ with you but we’re not “sending our best people abroad ... unabated” we are lossing our best people unabated. These Filipinos like myself (not one of the best) have decided to leave to pursue their full (sometime our only) potential abroad. Like Patricia’s freedom of speech we have freedom of movement. Nobody sent us to leave we chose to leave. However, we never lost our identity as Filipinos and in our own way we help the Philippines by sending remittance back home. Please do not blame or condemn us for our government’s inability to convince us to stay or it’s shortcommings providing infrastructure to our children so they may have good jobs in their future. Each one of us has our own limitations. Eight million of us share the same limitation and probably an immaginable number of our kababs if given the oppurtunity would board PanAm Flight 101 out of the Philippines in a heartbeat. I admire those who chose to stay but those who chose to leave doesn’t deserved to be condemned to hell. You can critize us all you want but as Filipinos coming from a very religious country (Christian, Muslim, and others) condemnation is not a wise way of expressing ones frustration.

I agree with you that we should NOT cultivate or promote the idea to sustain our nation through OFW remittances. I also agree with you that “we should act together at home, activate and energize our local synergies using our very own local human and natural resources.” I don’t think it sound impossible and certainly think is doable and it can be now. I agree with you that the brain/brawn drain causes disfunction in some families back home. Let’s do a little cause and effect analysis for a sec.

EFFECT: Family disfunction CAUSE: Parents leaving for the All Mighty Dollar
EFFECT: Parents leaving for the All Mighty Dollar CAUSE: Family disfunction.
EFFECT: Family disfunction CAUSE: Lack of source of income
EFFECT: Lack of source of income CAUSE: No job commensurate to skill
EFFECT: Lack of jobs to satisfy citizens CAUSE: You tell me.

Did you see Kevin Costner in the movie Wyatt Earp? There was a scene there and it’s one of my favorite. It’s the one when he entered a roudy bar saloon and with both barrell of his shotgun he discharge a thundering explosion and declared; “My name is Wyatt Earp, it all ends now.”

How I wish we have a Wyatt Earp in the Philippines who can turn it around. How I wish I have never left the PI to seek my full potential. How I wish I can come back home and bring back all my knowledge and experience to benefit the Filipino people. How I wish I’m back in the PI to make a difference to the street children and battered women caused by poverty. I have so many wishes but until Wyatt Earp Pinoy style turning our beloved PI around becomes a reality these wishes will remain wishes and be just among my frustrations.

Ube Juan Kanduli (UB1)

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Sunday, November 14, 2004 2:18:00 AM  




G Ushban, just like a harvest, there are good and bad fruits in a basket. I think you generalized. Isn't the reason why parents leave their children in search of a better future for their children? Sure I am with you when you say it is all in the spirit of bringing up a good family that parents should stay with their children. But if you have nothing to feed your children, what good does it bring to your family to starve as opposed to the fact that you leave the country so you could send your children to school so they could have a better future than the grim future they will face if you all starve together? BASIC!!!

Posted by Blogger ting-aling on Sunday, November 14, 2004 7:09:00 AM  




Corruption had always been tagged as the ultimate cancer of society as if it is the only reason why the country is teetering in bankruptcy and eventual collapse but in reality it is not the only culprit. It only worsens the already fragile socio-economic infrastructure weakened by other causes such as population explosion, erosion of personal moral values, government bureaucracy and inefficiency and poor planning. Even if Wyatt Earp were to step in and eliminate corruption entirely tomorrow, the country will still struggle to stand on its own knees. For example, our rapid population growth stymies whatever economic advantage we had gained in our struggle to keep the country afloat. Metro Manila with its 13 million people is in the 7th most populous city in the world. We all rack our brains thinking – how and where in the hell can we possibly provide jobs to the working people of a population this massive given the small land size of the Metro Manila area? This is a gargantuan challenge. And what is the government doing with population control? Is it leaving the church to deal with the issue?

Back to the topic – I agree that Patricia Evangelista’s condemnation of those who left the country as traitors is harsh and inappropriate. Her criticism should be more specific. There are those who leave to immigrate and join their families, those that try to gain financial momentum by working abroad for a couple of years and those that simply want to go abroad because it’s much greener, not even wanting to try to find work at home. Case in point - the case of a medical board topnotcher who immediately took a job in the U.S. as a nurse was a subject of debate even in the papers, with people blaming the govt. for the lack of job opportunities for doctors but frankly we can also say that the guy was a traitor for simply leaving without trying or big-time dumbo for spending 10 years in a medical school when he could have done it in half at a nursing school!

To ting-aling : Point well taken. My point is there are many variables involved and when we decide to go abroad, we need to understand the trade-offs and risks we are taking. As the proverbial saying goes, what’s the use of having a nice house and a car if your wife runs away with a much younger guy?

G. USHBAN

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Monday, November 15, 2004 12:45:00 PM  




G, I would agree with most of your comments. There are a lot of problems in the PI - Government, Religion and the People themselves. Without a Pinoy Wyatt I don't have a solution. Without him/her implementating any solution will not be successful. I don't see that happening in the present administration. I hope you can come up with solutions and a plan to implement it.

UB1

P.S. Thanks for your understanding re: Patricia's condemnation of the "Filipinos who chose to leave."

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous on Monday, November 15, 2004 2:06:00 PM  




Dear Ube Juan Kanduli,

Are your eyes so blinded with anger that you did not read the other parts of Patricia's article? You zeroed in on that specific quote and attacked her based on those incriminating lines, yet you chose to ignore the sentences before and after wherein she explains why she said it. She clearly writes that she said those things in order to win. It was a competition, therefore she was relied on strong emotion and strong words (condemnation, traitors, turncoats, hell on a handcart) to achieve the desired effect: audience response and victory.

In case you missed it, here are the lines that accompanied the quote you so carefully analyzed:

"It's true, I was out to win, and I used a feeling that is very much alive in the Philippines today: condemnation. I was like a madman on a soapbox, I condemned the Filipinos who chose to leave... And I won obviously not because of content. Sabi ko nga, angas, kaya minsan. Sometimes confidence can save the day. I still blush when I remember what happened."

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