Skip to main content

On New Politics by Liling Magtolis Briones

Boiled Green Bananas
Column in Business Mirror

During the past week, I was deeply engrossed with two seemingly disparate activities. The first was the visit of the Young Turks—Adel (Tamano), Danton (Remoto), Erin (TaƱada) and Gilbert (Remulla) to Silliman University, Dumaguete City, on July 10 and 11. The other activity was the “Magkaisa sa Awitan” choral festival commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United Church of the Good Shepherd (UGCS).

It is starting. The young are singing a different political tune. It is the music of New Politics. Young people are responding to the call for New Politics in talk shows, blogs and assemblies. They are moving away from apathy and are starting to march to a different drum. They are talking to the Young Turks.

Who are the Young Turks? During the first leg of their university tour in Silliman University, many asked this question. Are they similar to the young men of Turkey who started the Young Turks Revolution that brought down the monarchy? Or are they like the young Filipino politicians who defied their party elders?

Adel says it was the media who gave them the name, which was quickly picked up by young people who responded to their blog, the opposite of

The call of the Young Turks is addressed to the young—not necessarily in age—but in terms of hope, fresh ideas, and relief from the cynicism and sense of hopelessness pervading the country. They call for the participation of all sectors, especially the marginalized, in the political process. They challenge the youth to engage the government on urgent national issues.

Coming from different political parties, the Young Turks cross political, ideological, religious and social boundaries imposed by the traditional political process.

For their visit to Silliman University, they got up at the crack of dawn to board the first flights to Dumaguete. Upon arrival, they gamely followed a strenuous schedule, which included three major fora with the political science and history majors, business and economics students and the all-university convocation held in Silliman Church.

In between, they walked from one part of the campus to another, talked with students, faculty and staff. The only thing they could not do was sleep.

The questions raised by the students in the three fora were both disturbing and inspiring. A recurrent theme was the disappointment and apathy of the youth. One student complained that their hopes had been raised and destroyed so often. What guarantee is there that they would not be disappointed again with New Politics?

Another student talked about his province, which is one of the poorest in the country even as their governor is wallowing in wealth. A son of a former mayor spoke passionately about how his father was impelled to change political parties in order to access funding for their poor municipality.

A student wanted to know why Gilbert proposed the abolition of the Sangguniang Kabataan even as Erin wanted it reformed and strengthened. More questions about gender equality, exploitation of natural resources and exclusion of minorities in politics. And always, the despairing query, “Is there hope?”

Gilbert kept repeating like the Lord of the Rings’ Arwen, “There is hope. The hope is in you.” Erin challenged the young to “reclaim the government!” Danton called for more inclusiveness in politics. Adel urged the youth repeatedly to continue engaging the government and the political system. He said everyone should have a place at the table.

A different kind of music, indeed!


Popular posts from this blog

The Heart of Summer, a short story

On the first day of April, we moved to a row house in a subdivision carved out of the Antipolo hills. A row house is a nice word for houses that somehow managed to fit into 120-square-meter lots. They looked like matchboxes, really, built near the riverbank. The larger houses, of course, stood grandly at the center of the village, in front of the chapel. We’d be renting the house from the mayor’s mistress, one of three houses she owned there.

The living room of the house spilled over into the kitchen. The house only had two tiny rooms, but it was enough for us. The owner of the apartment we had been renting in Project 4 wrote to us (in pink stationery with the letterhead “Dr. Antonina Raquiza, Ph. D.”) to say that she’d raise the monthly rent to five thousand. If we couldn’t agree to her new terms, we’d have two months to leave. Mama glared at the letter, then said something obscene about our landlady’s father. A day later, she began poring over the ads, looking for cheaper rent in …

A teacher's tales

by Danton Remoto
Remote Control

I’ve been teaching for 22 years – the longest job I’ve had. This will be my last year of teaching. I will take sabbatical leave beginning April 2009 – a paid leave for one year that senior professors take every seven years, to sleep the sleep of the and come back to school fully energized. But in my case, I will not just sleep and read and gain weight. I will spend my sabbatical leave organizing Ang Ladlad’s campaign, and my own political campaign, for the May 2010 elections.

But because I stayed here longest, that means I love this job. I admire those who’ve spent 30, 40 years teaching without repeating themselves. They’ve taught for 30, 40 different years, not just one year repeated 30, 40 times. Teachers like the now-departed Dr. Doreen G. Fernandez and the retired, but still teaching, Professor Emmanuel “Eric” Torres come to mind. Both have taught with us at the English Department of the Ateneo de Manila University.

Doreen and Eric …

Review of "Pulotgata" The Love Poems"

This is a review of my book that I just read in the Internet today. It was written by Ralph Semino Galan of UST and was published in the Inquirer. It comes in two parts.

Honeymooning with Words, Part I
by Ralph Semino Galan

Love is a favorite subject among Filipino poets, regardless of gender. For despite the influx of modern and postmodern ideologies, the pervasive influence of the Romantic spirit is still prevalent in Philippine literature, especially in poetry. It therefore comes as no surprise that even a gay-identified writer like Danton Remoto has composed extensively verses expressing the intricacies of love and lust, desire and devotion, passion and compassion.

In his third book of poetry aptly titled "Pulotgata: The Love Poems" (Pasig City: Anvil Publishing, Inc, 2004, 88 pages), Remoto delves the depths of the human heart through lyrics in English and Filipino that sing of the anxiety and the excitement, the agony and the ecstasy which accompany the act of love.

The …