5/13/2019
And you claim to believe in democracy?

First of all, I get you. It is disappointing how this all turned out. Sure, painfully partial results, and knowing the Philippine electoral process, there will be protests filed and waits lengthened. But it is disappointing how the things you thought would materialize didn't. Nope, the majority, at least according to these painfully partial results, did not vote for common sense. Nope, they did not see things your way. The spoils still go to the incompetent, at best, and the outright bad, at worst.

Yes, I understand how these results will threaten your future, your chances of having a good go at life in this country. That's how I feel, too. The looming threat of a rubber-stamp Upper House to complement an already rubber-stamp Lower House is not fun. Analysts may say that senators tend to be "presidents in waiting" and therefore will still show a streak of independence, but in the end it's still a numbers game, and whether for idealistic or pragmatic reasons, the administration will get the votes it demands and it will get its agenda across, for better or worse.

To me, it means both more robust infrastructure and the potential of losing my sovereignty; it means both some degree of certainty of what to expect and the inability to complain about it when things go tits up. As a writer, you can imagine my anger when I learned both my parents support someone who's intent on clamping down freedom of the press. To you - to all of us - it means knowing our politicians will just enrich themselves at our expense. I mean, at this point you don't need to wait for a scandal to erupt. At least one senator put in jail for corruption - albeit selectively, as some might put it - is in the Magic 12, thanks to a song and dance.

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5/10/2019
You do not have this in the bag

My social media feeds have been filled with results of mock polls, conducted in major universities. I have the feeling they're sharing those posts as, err, incontrovertible evidence that, come Monday, the opposition slate will win most of the twelve Senate seats up for grabs this time around.

Err, no.

I'm no armchair analyst. I've gotten these things very wrong - I actually predicted Jojo Binay would become president. (Remember him?) But setting aside the surveys that are supposedly just one branch of a massive campaign to condition people into thinking the administration's bets are a shoo-in for the win, there really is little chance for the opposition slate to win. Maybe one, two if they're lucky. But it's not going to be otso diretso at all.

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5/03/2019
Always has been

A post on social media asks if press freedom is truly under threat in the Philippines. My mother gave an emphatic, all-caps response. "NO!"

I am disappointed.

I am disappointed, in part because my mother is the aspiring journalist in the family. She's the one who managed to write for the school paper, even. That's something I never got around to doing.

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4/30/2019
Hyperpartisan

There are less than two weeks to the election. I guess it's time I admit something: I haven't been paying attention.

Well, this time I can use the "I've been busy" reason. Even when I drop something that's been a surprising source of fulfillment for the past few years, I can never seem to have enough time - and when I do have a few snatches of idleness I end up going, "why am I being lazy?" It's a weird thing, burnout, or being eternally on the edge of it: you know you should rest, but you're not happy when you are, because you're so used to being worked to death.

But then - and this will disappoint some of you - I really just don't see the point of devoting so much of my time to figuring out who I should vote for. And I'm not saying this because we're voting for legislators rather than a president. It's just, well, what is the point, really?

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4/26/2019
Soft piano

Another private member's club, but this time, in the morning, and not a social event, but a business meeting, arguably. Still, the attire remains the same: my trusty coat jacket from Muji, my similarly trusty long-sleeved green shirt, bought on the same day as the coat jacket, from the same place; my also similarly trusty green pants, because nothing beats blending into the scenery.

When I realized I'd be attending a lot more of these things I finally decided to get myself a better complement of outfits you'd call "business casual". Or, wait, is that the right term? Anyway, I don't bother with neckties anymore. I just see what's available and I throw things together - a really minor privilege of being male, I guess.

For me, it also frees up time to somewhat, well, blend into the scenery. More or less. I'm a loud guy and I can get really animated. But at least if I dress the right clothes, I'll look a little more acceptable.

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