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Showing posts from July, 2010

Laying down the baseline

26 July 2010

PRESIDENT Aquino’s State of the Nation Address is expected to focus on the problems inherited from the previous administration, especially the anomalies pulled off in the last months of Gloria Arroyo’s nine years of misrule. That kind of stock-taking is an absolute necessity so Aquino can lay down the baseline from which to build on in the next six years.

Aquino’s team, however, has been on the job less than two months. The time might be enough to uncover the more egregious last-minute fast breaks, but it would take much longer to determine the depth and breadth of corruption that attended the unlamented Arroyo administration. And we are not talking yet of the failed programs and policies which must be discarded if Aquino is to redeem his promise of a brighter future for the nation.

But first things first. The people should not entertain overly high expectations from the new administration. An administration does not assume office with a blank sheet. The chall…

Rivers run through it

Rivers run through it - REMOTE CONTROL | DANTON REMOTO
Posted at 07/23/2010 7:17 PM | Updated as of 07/23/2010 7:18 PM

Ilustrado means the enlightened ones, the indios during the dying days of the Spanish regime who could afford a European education. And in the true tradition of all colonials, they soaked up the education, filtered it, and then used it as a weapon against their colonial masters. They were the seeds that later bore fruit in the Philippine revolution of 1896.

The modern ilustrado is the subject matter, point of departure, and even the writer of this whirligig of a novel. Winner of the Palanca Grand Prize for the Novel and the estimable Man Asian Literary Prize for the Asian Novel of the Year, this much-awaited book generally lives up to the raft of accolades and reviews it has received.

Full disclosure: the author, Miguel Syjuco, was my former student at the Ateneo de Manila University. I still remember well his hair dyed blu…

Snapshots of a Life

BY Danton Remoto
Remote Control

(Excerpts from a novel)

The Magic Box

I was four years old, sleeping soundly on my parents’ big bed. One morning, my mother woke me up, brought me to the bathroom where she washed my face, and made me rinse my mouth. When we returned to their room, she said. “This is the day I told you about. The man with the magic black box will arrive.”

And so she proceeded to dress me up. She pulled my new white, short-sleeved polo shirt from its plastic bag, and shook it in the morning air. Against my skin the shirt was crisp and clean. Mama made me wear my new khaki shorts. She buttoned up my shirt, and then knotted a green tie under my stiff collar.

“Now, you look so formal already,” she said. “When the man stands before his magic black box and disappears under the strip of black cloth, you should give him your widest smile.” Still groggy from sleep, I just nodded lazily.

Whiteness, there was whiteness everywhere! The walls and ceilings of our house wi…