Sunday, January 27, 2013

Celebrating Chinese New Year's in the Philippines: a Political Interpretation

The Chinese New Year's decorations in the local mall in Makati becomes gaudier and gaudier every week the author goes for his weekly grocery shopping.  In the run-up to this year's official February 10th countdown when a new year begins on the lunar new year, the mall has introduced Qing-dynasty Manchu uniforms for its employees, 1960s Taiwanese romantic ballads for its repetitive theme music, and of course, bright red and golden signage for every floor and department to make sure any passers-by know exactly what this fuss is all about.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Instigator and Facilitator: the Emotional Distraught of a Mid-Level Manager

Among the intellectuals of the world, there has long been a consensus on the defining quality of individual success.  It is not measured by the amount of cash in one's bank account, the net worth of one's business, assets, and properties.  Instead, the key word is "power," the authority one has over other individuals and functioning of a community, and to a greater extent, society in general.  The ability to influence and to change the course of other's lives, in particular, can be seen an easy, albeit morally reprehensible, way to get one's hands on an almost unlimited flow of cash.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Kinship-ing Your Way to Success: Decoding the "Asian Ways" of Filipino Society

"Hiya" "amor-propio" "compadre"...and series of local sociological concepts rolls off the pages of a cultural learning book detailing the tendencies of Filipino behaviors.  All of these, foreign-sounding at the first sight, after even the most brief of explanations, become terribly familiar for someone who has seen perhaps a bit too much of the collectivist values so ingrained within Asian societies.  It is as the author said so well in the prologue, Filipino society, despite its Western-looking facade of English use, Christian beliefs, and American cultural affinity due 400 years of Western colonization, is not at all a Western society at heart.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Long-Distance Buses in the Philippines: the Chaos of Private Enterprise and Government Absence

The rusty old box on wheels "sped along" the Emilio Aguinaldo Highway south of Manila as fast as I could...which, unfortunately for the anxious traveler, was not that much.  Sitting on the long wooden chairs of the long-distance bus, the traveler kept staring out of the glass-less window to see just how long the traffic will continue to crawl forward.  The bus was moving so slowly on the two-lane "national highway" that the wind coming through the open windows cannot compensate for the heat of the early morning sun and the body fumes of the massive crowds squeezed into the already over-capacity bus.