Friday, September 29, 2006

Throwing my eggs in

I first heard of the egg throwing incident from a column by Alex Magno (furl copy). I was not surprised. Baiting the military to try and get a reaction from them is a favorite pastime with the LFS and their allied organizations. This is akin to militant rallyist trying to provoke the PNP into dispersing them (although admittedly, it seems the police need very little provocation at this junction). It's a win-win situation for them, they can show how militant they are and if they do get a reaction, produce martyrs for the cause.

What I found amusing is the fact that Alex could have called the students any number of things but he chose to call them fascists. It's funny because fascists is the favorite term leftists like to call people in government and people supporting government, these same students will probably brand Alex Magno as a fascist for his support of the Arroyo government.

Another thing I found amusing from his column was his description of the students "whooping madly as someone on a megaphone announced that they had received a few hundred thousand from the pork barrel of Bayan Muna." I find this funny because I remember quite distinctly in my younger years that the people most critical of the pork barrel of the trapos were the left organizations. Yet, they had no qualms utilizing their share of pork when they were elected into Congress. Of course they may argue that what they were criticizing were the corruption that accompanies the pork of the trapos. But that is a hollow argument, if you want to end the corruption from pork, the best way is to end pork barrel not wallow in it.

It MLQ3's latest post that got me into this harangue. He quotes an interesting though fairly long e-mail from R. Jitana. I will only quote one sentence from it
"One of the greatest things I learned at UP was that the middle stance as the correct stance, is well…a funny assertion. A blind man’s perspective. A joker’s. “Middle” denotes balance and equality. Can the Right ever be equal with the Left? Only in mathematical equations. Never in social reality. The Right has arms and might, while the Left derives its might only from being on the democratic side. “Middle” is only for referees in a boxing fight."
I think he read the statement of the Association of Political Science Majors (APSM) which is why he reacted this way. I received a copy of the statement, the one I linked to above from the UP Samahan sa Agham Pampulitika (UP SAPUL*) e-group. The APSM proudly proclaims that their organization is a non-partisan organization with the slogan "where both ends of the political spectrum meets".

I agree with Mr. Jitana that taking a non-partisan or middle stance is self delusion. You are only deluding yourself that you are non-partisan, when you are in fact defending the status quo. As Political Science and as UP students, the APSM should know better. And their teachers should remind them of it.

But I must demur from Mr. Jitana's simplistic dichotomy of left and right where he equates the democratic struggle with the left. Yes, historically, the left has been in the thick of the democratic struggle in the Philippines but at the historic moment of EDSA, the majority of the left was nowhere to be found (naiwang natutulog sa pansitan). And in the last several months we have seen the left call for a revolutionary transition government, ally themselves with the Estradas, ally themselves with military coup plotters. These are not democratic endeavors.

Yes, we need to work for more democratic space, for a more transparent government, for more accountability in our public institutions, but these are not necessarily the exclusive domain of the left. These causes are the causes of all Filipinos.

*The UP Samahan sa Agham Pampulitika (UP Sapul) is the oldest (and best) Political Science organization in the University of the Philippines. It was established in the 1930's as the Political Science Club and changed its name to its present one in the 70's. We have no official slogan although the closest we have come to is a phrase directly lifted from our constitution
"tungo sa pinakamataas na uri ng paglilingkod"
which can be roughly translated as towards the highest form of service.


Bonn Juego said...

Hi Roy,

Greetings from Tallinn (Estonia)!

It's 'tungo sa pinakamataas na ANTAS ng paglilingkod' ;).

I have chanced upon this post while searching/googling for our dear org, UP SAPUL. I missed this post although your blog has long been linked to mine for two years now.

Happy Anniversary to UP SAPUL! It's February -- SAPUL month! (I'll miss the anniversary night again for three consecutive years na!)

Bonn Juego
UP SAPUL Batch 97-A

roy choco said...

Hi Bonn,

I know that we, the older batches always quote "...tungo sa pinakamataas na antas ng paglilingkod" to the younger batches. But if you check the SAPUL constitution, the formulation is "...tungo sa pinakamataas na uri ng paglilingkod."

I chose to use the original wording in the constitution because (1) that is what is written in the constitution and (2) I actually think that it is a better formulation. Antas, suggests that there are levels of service and our path is the highest form of service, which I find arrogant. Uri implies that there are different equally valid kinds of service that anybody can take.

I used antas when I was younger because that was the formulation that was given to me by the batches before me. I didn't know why the wording was changed but for SAPUL purposes it does not really matter, the important thing is that we give an alternate path of service to our members, service that is directed not only to self but to others.

Unless of course you changed the constitution during your term and amended the wording :).



For my next trick, I will explain why SAPUL was chosen as the acronym for Samahan sa Agham Pampulitika(parang nakalimutan na ng sapul ang kuwentong ito). According to Mr. Noel Roxas, who explained it to a group of new sapulites, (i think during our induction) though the literal meaning of sapul in english is to hit an object physically, one can also use sapul to to signify that one has grasped an idea, e.g. the expression "nasapul mo!" when a person has explained an idea correctly.

Sapul was chosen as an acronym because the word also symbolized the fact that the members of the organization were searching to understand the world and grasp its meaning (from the perspective of political science).


Ang tagal mo na pala diyan, naka-uwi ka na ba?