Writing on Air

Writing on Air by Jim Paredes


Law and Order

Posted on April 15, 2007 by jimparedes

Philippine Star
Humming In My Universe
April 15, 2007
Jim Paredes

The first thing that strikes me every time I return to Manila from abroad, especially when I come in from Australia, is the high level of chaos that rules our lives here. The airport is still somewhat orderly, but it kinda ends there. After coming out of the NAIA or Centenial airport and hitting EDSA, one is amazed, no, shocked and depressed at how disorderly and wild the traffic is, how dirty and shabby the buildings are, how unsightly the power lines are that hang across a big portion of the sky and how undisciplined and cavalier the people are about crossing the streets and using the side walks. Are there even sidewalks? I’m not sure.

Then there are the billboards, those monstrous pictures that rape what remains of the sky and the cityscape that not even the death of a few people and a Presidential order can put an end to.

In less than two minutes, I can count what would be considered numerous and wanton traffic violations where one could lose a license in an uber orderly place like Sydney. But of course I am not in Sydney, and boy, do I know it. And what is amazing is, even while I am distressed at what I see, within two days, Sydney can already seem like a faraway place and my Manila instincts kick in and I am a ‘native son’ once again, who survives and even thrives in the craziness that is life here. I find a kind of parallel with the Disney version of Aladdin where Aladdin sings, and I paraphrase, ‘welcome to the land where your hands get cut for stealing… but hey, it’s home.’ (Italics mine).


Our first few months in Sydney were quite confusing and traumatic for my family and me. To our unaccustomed eyes, everything was just way too orderly and too much ‘by the rules’. Even just trying to get proper identification to be able to do things like rent a house, open a bank account, pass the driving test and get a driver’s license was problematic. To this Filipino who was raised in a jungle that regarded traffic signs, laws and lanes as mere ‘suggestions’, there were just too many rules.

In Australia, every ID one carries — a Philippine driver’s license, passport, credit card, etc. is assigned a corresponding number of points. In order to rent a house, for example, I needed 100 points. A passport gives you only 50 points. An overseas credit card is hit or miss. Luckily, I had friends who vouched for me and even signed my rental contracts just to get me housed initially.

You can get a feeling of alienation when you go to a government office and try to explain that the ‘Maria’ in your name is not your real name, as my wife Lydia was trying to communicate. They would not give her a driver’s license because her passport had a ‘Maria’ before her proper name ‘Lydia’, while her other ID, a US license, just had ‘Lydia’ on it. We felt like we were banging our heads against the wall trying to explain that every other Filipina has a ‘Maria’ on her birth certificate. But rules were rules. We finally found a solution by going to the Philippine Embassy and getting a letter that said Lydia and Maria Lydia are one and the same person.

Aussies are sticklers for proper identification and documentation. Every car on the road bears the name of the owner on the windshield together with the sticker of registration. Everyone carries a Medicare card. Your driver’s license is the only ID you will need to prove who you are and that is why it is issued only with meticulous scrutiny and care.

Traffic and driving are something else. The Aussie style of driving is anathema to the Filipinos’ defensive driving techniques. Aside from driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road, theirs can be described as offensive driving. If you are in the wrong lane, you may very well get bumped. With a much higher density of cars in Manila, it is simply amazing how much fewer accidents we have here compared to those in Sydney. It’s because we operate not by officially set traffic rules but by intuition that we have acquired through the years which I sense has something to do with our views on personal space — our ‘singit’ and ‘makikiraan po’ mindset. In Manila, horns are tooted to let other cars know where you are. In Sydney, it is used to express expletives.

But frustrating as it is, I can’t help but admire how, especially after I got integrated into the system, things can work almost seamlessly. I can go to a doctor and not worry about bills. My son can take any public transport to and from school for free by showing his school ID. The trains (which they all laugh at for being late and chaotic) generally provide wonderful, safe and predictable rides to almost every destination. I can pay bills, including taxes, through the computer.

I recently witnessed an election in Australia, and compared to what we go through here, theirs is practically a non-event. I saw no more than 10 posters and actually met a candidate distributing his own flyers! No vehicles with loudspeakers parading around neighborhoods. No ballot-snatching, assassinations, charges and counter charges of cheating, intimidation, flying voters, etc. People are required by law to vote under pain of a fine. If you can’t vote on election day, you can vote earlier by mail.

Weeknights in Australia are lonely and quiet compared to the Philippines. Lights are out by 9 PM and the streets are quiet and abandoned, at least in the suburbs. When Aussies ask me what the Philippines is like, I tell them it’s a party place. While Aussies may drink and party hard with friends, we know how to party harder and better with friends, family and even strangers we have just met.

An interesting arena of the clash between Pinoy chaos and Aussie orderliness happens regularly at our home in Glenwood, a suburb of New South Wales. When Mio’s friends come over, they are visibly amazed at the amount of activity going on in the house.

Once, his friend Brett slept over and while Brett was having breakfast the next day, I could see him looking around and minding everything going on. There was Lydia, cooking while entertaining a Filipina friend sitting by the kitchen counter as Ananda, my grandchild was running around the house shrieking gleefully while resisting orders from Erica, her mom, to take a bath. Ala shouting from the shower asking mom to make her some longanisa and rice. Our TV set was on with no one really watching. And I was in the sala close by playing the guitar.

I laughed when I heard Brett ask Mio if it was like this everyday in our home. Mio looked at him quizzically, and asked him why he asked. Brett then said it was so ‘cool’ and ‘happy’. In his home, no one really communicated or even sat down together for breakfast. They pretty much cooked and ate on their own and left soon after for work or school.

I notice how more and more of Mio’s Aussie friends are hanging around the house and enjoying themselves. I see them less and less as strangers or ‘other people’. I can see their fondness for Mio and how at home they are in our place.

I am quite sure why we Filipinos come out among the top of surveys as one of the happiest people in the world. There are nationalities that seem to have it all but have high suicide rates and stress levels. There must be a heavy price they are paying for all that orderliness. But I am sure, we Filipinos could be even happier with a little more dedication to law and order, and adherence to systems and social programs that will benefit the greater number.

In Carolyn Myss’ book, Sacred Contracts, she describes how people’s lives are manifestations of contracts entered and signed in heaven before joining the sphere of time and space. It seems to me that the contemporary Filipino’s destiny is to become a foreigner because of the number of Filipinos now living abroad and the many more who wish to follow. Perhaps, the real purpose of the Filipino diaspora is not about surrendering our nationality or becoming less Filipino. Maybe it is for us to learn from societies that subscribe to the more straight and narrow paths, while we in turn teach them to lighten up and enjoy life the way we naturally do.

While a dose of discipline won’t hurt the Filipino spirit, a little more chaos could be good for the Aussie soul. ###

30 to “Law and Order”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jim,

    I remember the first year my family was in Sydney, we lived in the North Shore area and near the Main Pacific Hwy. But on late afternoon on weekends (Westfield closes after 3PM in Hornsby), the area feels like a ghost town. My eldest actually asked me if people lived here.

    We have move to the North West and still the quiet atmosphere can be found. I actually enjoy this slow and relaxed life. But this is balanced by the strict and disciplined work ethics I found in my area of work. Where we could be asked to report (sometimes by 5 mins increment) what we are doing in the office (eg. did we talk to a client on the phone for 5 mins). Even internet time should be reported as research or business development.

    The government (to my opinion) even go as far as telling the family to give family time a priority. Hence they send a letter tell the parents not to let the primary school children do more than 30 mins of homework a night. So the school work does not use up family time. To show time management is an important discipline. But this changes in high school were they are then told to be disciplined and hard working. Hence given homeworks and assignments.

    But this is I think what made this country great and properous. The 200 year old country has inculcated to the people that being civil and disciplined can be beneficial to all concerned. Hence the people are cordial and disciplined.

    I just finished a punishing work schedule last weekend wherein I was going home from work at 5 AM. My taxi was near my home and we stopped. We were alone in that area and no police nor red light camera’s. Yet we are stopped at the intersection because the traffic light is red. Even the cab drivers are disciplined. If you book a cab to pick you up at 1:30 AM from work, they do come and pick you up at 1:30 AM.

    I believe another country also has discipline people and they are the Japanese. We can see what this did to their country even after being defeated in WWII.

    Hence the future of every country is realy at the hands of the ordinary citizens. If the start doing the right thing at the right time.I see no reason for that country to emerge from the chaos and confusion.

    cheers,

    LA

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jim,

    Another thing that amazed me the first time exercised my right to vote here are the ballot boxes. Unlike in the Philippines where it is made of steel and secured by several padlocks and guarded people who are willing to die so the boxes cannot be compromised, here it looked to me like an oversized shoe box not even a heavy duty commercial grade cardboard box.

    Cherio!

    Max

  3. Anonymous says:

    hi jim,

    i love voting here. there is a sense of trust. one goes to the voting centre. they ask you if you have voted yet, if you say no they give you the voting sheet. then you use a PENCIL to mark your vote and leave. no one puts indelible ink on you. the counting is fast and no one questions the count. the loser is gracefull and the head of the losing party is expected to step down.

    cheers,

    LA

  4. girlie says:

    this is out of the topic but about your 4th book: another great inspirational book! i enjoyed every word beautifully woven.(pls. see lulu.com for a short review.) CONGRATULATIONS!!!
    am looking forward to the 5th one-hee!hee!hee!

  5. Jim says:

    Girlie–I am beaming from ear to ear. I am in Toronto as I write this and your glowing review is melting the cold. So glad you found my book an enjoyable and worthwhile experience.

    Thank you for talking the time. After I write a book, I feel a certain distance to it and only get familiar with it again later on. I had ‘forgotten’ the feelings that I had and I even get surprised when I reread what I have written.

    Glad to read your positive review.

    LA and Max–There is much to appreciate in Aus talaga. What I found alienating when I just arrived is now much appreciated. I love the order actually.

    I also like the way great things like elections are done with little flair but with success.

  6. Vicky says:

    Hi Jim,
    Re. Aus and the Phils, you hit the nail right on the head. You have expressed my observations and you put it together succinctly. The public transports are excellent in Aus but Filipino values are still the best.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Chief,

    I remember my first very short 2weeks vacation sa NSW,sydney… ibang iba talaga kung dito ka sa pilipinas lumaki… every single day na nandun ako, i was hoping that filipinos/philippines was like that! God, how i wish!

    Elizar

  8. fj7000 says:

    i travel to Manila 1-2 times a year and i agree absolutely with your observations; i just love the 2 different worlds – aussieland & pinas.
    i have 2 grown-up sons who never had pinay for a gf; puro puti and my culture shock was – the girls would come in, say hello and then straight to my son’s bedroom. no, they were not doing anything silly, the door would be open; pero that’s something na di puede sa pinas, di ba?

  9. JT of Dural says:

    Tito Jim,

    I’m grateful that I had the privilege to live in both worlds: PI and Aus.

    The hustle and bustle of PI teaches one to become a survivor. Kung mahina ka sa diskarte, hindi ka lalayo.

    The order and strictness of Aus teaches one about the importance of personal honesty and integrity.

    Kaya kung chicks-boy ka – patok na patok ka sa chicks: honest and with integrity na matinik sa diskarte! 🙂

    -JT of Dural

    P.S.: fj7000 – nabanggit mo iyang mga chicks na dumadalaw sa tahanan ng mga boys; a few anecdotes:

    Noong araw magkapitbahay ang nanay at tatay ko sa Sta Mesa Heights QC. Sabi ng nanay ko, noong bago sila ikasal ng tatay ko ayaw pa rin siyang payagang ng lola ko na makinood ng TV sa bahay ng tatay ko. Baka kung ano raw ang masabi sa kanya ng mga tiyahin ng tatay ko.

    In the 80s when my younger brother was a college student, his classmates would frequent our house to study because we had more room. Of course some of the classmates are female but in no way are they romantically linked to my brother. Aba naiiskandalo ang lola ko kapag nakikitang may dumadalaw na babaeng kaklase sa amin. She was born in 1892 and as you know she has that old school mentality. Iniinterview ni lola iyong mga kaklaseng babae. Natawa kami noong ikuwento sa amin iyong babala ng lola: “Hoy babae, wala pang hanapbuhay ang apo ko at walang ipapakain sa iyo. Mabuti pa umuwi ka na at baka hinahanap ka na sa inyo!” HILARIOUS

  10. Tricia says:

    No wonder my friend from Queensland, says, he needs to check if his parents are asleep.

    It seems like the people there are pretty laid back.

  11. fj7000 says:

    hi jt of dural,

    galing naman ng kuwento mo. i could visualize how your lola was talking to the chicas. if i am not mistaken, nung panahon ng lola mo, mahawakan lang ang daliri ng babae, kailangan pakasalan na.

  12. Jim says:

    vicky, JT, fj7000–Tama kayo. The combination of Pinoy instincts, surviving skills with Aussie no-nonsense and sense of order is a good comvbination.

    JT, Natawa ako sa kwento mo tungkol sa lolo at lola mo. Hilarious.

    Tricia–it can get quite boring here sa unpisa until your mind sdjusts to the new rhythm of the place. Then you begin to appreciate and even like it.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Sports is the one thing Australia is very good at and the Philippines should look up to. It produced many world-class sporting heroes. imagine if they all try to run for office : )

  14. April S says:

    Jim,

    I’ve spent a week in Sydney last month (my first trip down under) and you’ve captured my musings on the differences of our ways of life and cultural mindsets.

    Seamless as it is, I can only imagine the chaos if we had “round-abouts” in Manila…

    Cheers!

  15. N says:

    Hi Mr.Jim! I also had the trouble with the case of “MARIA”. Like your wifey, I have a maria but was written both in my passport and birth certificate as “Ma” only. dunno why it was like that. anyway, i stayed for a couple of minutes in the airport for them to check but was immediately released naman after realizing it’s really part of my name.

    btw, i live in japan and i really love it here because of the so-called discipline and convenience.pero tama po kayo sir jim, with regards to filipino and happiness. kze dto sa japan, very rich sila pero marami pa rin ang suicidal. to the point na kapag late ang train, people would even immediately thought of a possible suicide.. grabe po noh?

    one japanese manager commented to me how he’s very amazed at filipino/as because we look happy all the time. 🙂

  16. DaveLock says:

    Jim, as a person who’s lived most of his life in Aus (apart from periods overseas), & travelled many times to Phil (as well as much of the world), I too agree 100% with your comments, & enjoyed them immensely. Although as you state in this piece, your observations are very Sydney-based. I find the other state capitals are quite different to Sydney. Have you & your family had the chance to venture outside New South Wales yet Jim? I hope so, because each of the capital cities in Aus has a very different flavour, because most development is done at state level here.

    Sir, if you & your family ever head up Queensland way, it would be my honour if you would allow me to treat you & show you around. Although, this is a limited-time offer – valid until I relocate to Phil. 🙂

    But I ask you Jim, where is the line between Aus being disciplined & ordered, & it being just plain dead in its soul? Apart from the chaos vs discipline perspective, I find that people here in Aus really don’t care about each other any more. We’ve lost our sense of community & it reflects in our daily attitude towards each other. We’re also rapidly losing our ability to just simply have fun for the sake of it.

    Max & LA, the ballot boxes are cardboard but are sealed with tamper-proof tags. The pencil type they use on the ballots can’t be erased without evidence of that.

    Tricia, compared to Sydney, Brisbane (Queensland) is like being in the province – if you were to compare the province to Manila.

    April S, the round-abouts are there because they are so much cheaper for the state governments to install & maintain than traffic lights are, yet our taxes don’t seem to reduce accordingly to reflect those savings. Does that equal corruption? I’ve seen an explosion of the use of round-abouts here in my life, & I hate them with a passion.

    -> Dave

  17. JT of Dural says:

    April S,

    Mayroong mga roundabout sa atin. Ang tawag roon ay “ROTONDA.” Kung magawi ka sa kanto ng Tomas Morato at Timog Avenue, rotonda pa rin iyon ngayon.

    Noong araw, mas maraming mga rotonda. Halimbawa sa Quezon City iyong kanto ng Quezon Avenue, West Avenue at Timog avenue ay dating rotonda. Gayon din iyong kanto ng EDSA (dating Highway 54) at Quezon Avenue.

    Siguro rumami na ang trapiko kaya naisipang tanggalin ang mga rotonda at palitan ng mga traffic lights. O baka may kumita nang malaki sa pagkabit ng mga traffic lights na iyan, ‘di ko lang tiyak. Alam ba ninyo na ang traffic light system sa ‘Pinas ay galing sa Australia?

    Pero sa totoo lang mas efficient ang roundabout/rotonda kaysa sa traffic lights o sa mga four-way o three-way stops na marami sa Amerika. Kung napansin ninyo, tinanggal na ng MMDA sa pamumunuan ni Bayani Fernando ang mga traffic lights. Sinara niya ang dating intersection at linagyan niya ng mga U-TURN lanes. E di balik sa roundabout/rotonda ang lumalabas!

    Bakit mas efficient ang roundabout/rotonda kaysa sa intersection na may traffic light? Kasi mapipilitan ang mga sasakyang magbigayan sa roundabout/rotonda. Walang suwapangan sa roundabout/rotonda na tulad na nangyayari sa atin sa mga intersection na may traffic lights.

    Kapag hindi na kaya ng roundabout/rotonda ang daloy ng trapiko, kailangan gumawa na ng overpass, flyover o underpass. Ganyan ang nangyari sa kanto ng EDSA at Quezon Avenue: dating rotonda na naging traffic light at ngayon ay underpass na.

    Davelock, ewan ko kung nagmamaneho ka sa Amerika, pero nakakasuya iyong mga three-way at four-way stops nila. Mangyari, maski 3am na obligado ka pa ring humimpil maski alam mo namang ikaw lang ang sasakyan sa kalsada sa oras na iyon. Samantalang sa roundabout, basta libre, tuluy-tuloy ang takbo ng sasakyan mo.

    Oks ba?

    -JT of Dural
    Mas.nakakalito.ang.mga.roundabout.sa.NZ

  18. Anonymous says:

    mas lalong nakakalito yung hook turn sa Melbourne

    Max

  19. Joji says:

    Hi Jim,

    I had a wonderful opportunity to visit AUS last year for 6 weeks (just to have a feel of the place before we move there hopefully in 2008.) My fiance was based then in Kalgoorlie, WA. We travelled from Perth, WA to Sydney & back. Much as I enjoyed our 1-week stay in Sydney, I still felt the rat race in Sydney downtown. The place felt so big & sprawling as we had to travel from our hotel at Sydney Menzies to my aunt in Canley Vale & other relatives in Dee Why.

    Even if I don’t have relatives & friends in Perth, I felt more at ease & relaxed there. Less harried ang mga tao & more laid back coz Perth is a small city.

    I had a horrifying but heartwarming experience when we had a road mishap along the Great Eastern Highway on our 6-hour drive back to Kalgoorlie. My fiance let me drive his car halfway, on cruise control (eh Dyos ko day, walang cruise control ang Toyota ko dito sa Maynila! LOL) My left back tire blew out, lost control of the wheel, swerved, skidded & spinned 360-degrees twice on the other side of the highway. Thank God there were no road trains or cars ahead! We landed on a steep sandy ditch, one foot away from a big tree with 2 tires out. No injuries or car dents! Whew!

    In less than 5 minutes, the cops were there & they gave me a breath test. I quizzically looked at my fiance & he assured me it was OK. It was pala to test if I was under the influence of alcohol. Of course, the cops found me negative of any alcohol trace. They kidded that I must be a stunt driver in Manila to have survived that accident.

    Jeez, God must have sent our guardian angels to save us! We waited for 5 hours in the bushland for a tow truck. But almost all cars stopped and checked on us if we were OK. Someone even offered to buy us water. On the positive side, the experience showed me how helpful and concerned Aussie country people are. The police even offered us to stay overnight at their Shelter for the Homeless since all the hotels have closed when we reached Merredin at 10pm. The shelter was a decent accomodation with hot shower and warm beds.

    Can you imagine if that happened to us here in Manila? OMG, siguro we would have been stripped off naked… pati kotse baka na-strip down din.

    Seriously now & honestly, I look forward to our move to AUS after 46 years of living in chaotic Manila. I’m at a point in my life where I need change… especially after seeing that there have been no significant changes in this country for the last 20 years.

    I saw your earlier post of the Handog ng Pilipino sa Mundo MTV. It was soooo kurot sa puso that my tears flowed as I watched it again. I look at my 7-year old son & the more it makes me want to move out of here. I have no doubt that he would have better education & career opportunities there than if we stick it out here. Di bale na even if I won’t have a maid & driver!

    Ciao,
    Joji

  20. fj7000 says:

    one thing good here in aussieland too is that it’s not easy to buy guns unlike in the US and pinas. i”ve been here many years and i haven’t seen a gunstore; recently in makati commercial, i looked with fascination at the sorts of guns one can buy- very small & handy to the bigger ones.

    we wish the gunman in Virginia Tech had no easy access to a gun and plenty of ammo…and to think he was mentally ill.

    very tragic, ano?

  21. Jim says:

    To everyone–I’m sure i am not the only one enjoying all this sharing going on. So many stories that speak of everyone’s Aussie experiences.

    davelock–my family and I are planning a Queensland trip. I have been to Perth, Adelaiude and Brisbane and you are right, they arre not like Sydney–slower, friendlier. But coming from Manila, Sydney IS friendly. ha ha. We may call on you if and when we go.

    joji–yor story is precious. I felt the same way the first time I went to Aus in 1987 in Brisbane. I actually told myself then that I would be living there someday. And now here I am. I hope Aus works out for you and your family.

    fj7000–Indeed. I am so relieved that Australia is not a gun wielding society.

    I can’t understand how the Americans can say that their right to bear arms has no bearing on the violence they are experiencing now. Crazy!!!

  22. DaveLock says:

    JT, yes I have lived in America & driven there. I happen to work for a very large American multi-national & sometimes have to stay there for work. I was living in Seattle for 2005/2006, & experienced many of the 3-way & 4-way stops you have mentioned, & I’m not a fan of those either. But to look at it logically – at an intersection, if 2 give way signs won’t do (which still allows the traffic flow), then it should be lights. Also, with roundabouts there is a great deal of difference between a single lane & multi-lane roundabout. A single lane is not so bad, but a multi-lane just doesn’t work because at some point you must be looking behind you over your passenger-side shoulder, which is illogical unless you’re reversing.

    I drove the west coast from Mexico to BC, & east to Vegas, & never saw a roundabout. The only one I saw was near Vancouver in BC.

    BTW, thanks for commenting to me in Tagalog. I’m learning it & that challenges my translation skills, which I very much enjoy. 🙂

    Jim, let me know if you need assistance or help to plan a trip to Queensland. I am more than happy to help.

    -> Dave

  23. Anonymous says:

    hi all,

    With all that is happening around us. One really needs to step back and see what really makes us happy. Whether we are in Sydney or Manila. Learning to be content but still striving to have a better life is a start.

    People take their own life or the livesof others due to their inability to be content. People try to get more money (sometimes through corruption) to try to buy things to make them happy.

    Take a look at the book “The Art of Happiness” to see more of what I am talking about.

    Cheers,

    LA

  24. Kat O+ says:

    Nothing much to add. Just wanted to say that I’m really enjoying your observations of Sydney compared with Manila. I’ve been in Sydney so long, it’s lovely to remember some of the things that went through my mind during our first few–or ten *lol*–years here. 🙂

  25. JENIE says:

    Hi Sir Jim,
    I’m Ala’s batchmate in ADMU and I just moved here to Singapore two months ago. I bellieve having too many rules have caused Singaporeans to be too uptight and too serious about life. Your last few lines struck me because I was just thinking about it a couple of weeks back. That the role of Filipinos abroad is to add some color or laughter to first world countries’ almost two-toned way of life.

    Cheers to your insightful articles!

    Sincerly,
    Jenie Gabriel 🙂

  26. Carmel says:

    hi apo Jim, a friend in the US pointed me (nasa Pinas ako) to your blog, and i’m glad she did. i didn’t know you’re such a gifted writer, too. i don’t read star so i’m not familiar with your column. anyway, i know i’ll pop in here quite often (have added your blog to my favorites). i also think i want a bigger dose of your writings, so i hope your books are available at the local bookstores. hats off to you, Jim!

  27. PinoyHarbinger says:

    Good day Sir Jim!

    I would like subscribe to your assumption that the Filipino diaspora is not about surrendering our nationality or becoming less Filipino but sadly even in our own country we are imposed, even as early as our elementary school days, to give up our own nationality. One does not need to go out of the country for him or her to surrender his or her nationality. Choices are being made right now as soon as our children begin to understand the advices of their elders to be migrant workers when they grow up or simply even by the mere sight of a playmate’s tatay or nanay coming from another country with pasalubongs for them.

    Sadly even before leaving our country most of us we decide to leave behind, along with the chaos, our nationality. Passports are only there for legal purposes and could be ditched for another one with a different color after a few years. It is what is in our hearts that makes us decide to stick to and love what is amidst the chaos. Don’t get me wrong I would love to see our country in order and lawful as any decent country would strive to be but for that to even happen we must first find our way to sincerely believe that we can make our nation great. That we can make our country rise again by staying here and contribute to nation building.

    I salute all the migrant workers for all their efforts and the great sacrifice that they have made to give a better future for their sons and daughters and in doing so they have helped to revive what is left to our economy. But I give all my respect and all the honors to those of us who have decided to stay here and consciously help to regain our national pride and strength with only love, pure unflinching love in their hearts, for our country. Those who hold on to the last piece of hope that they could find amidst the chaos.

    Mabuhay po tayong lahat!

  28. Anonymous says:

    Hi Jim.

    Im not sure if im right or wrong.. but i think i saw ur son mio in the city earlier (opera bar).. visibly drunk and swearing so much it was shocking.

    Im a bit dissapointed.. Im not sure why but it was really interesting to seeing him and witnessed how he behaved.

    Then again, maybe im wrong.. maybe mistaken identity.. I saw a skinny long haired bloke but he sure is popular with girls.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Hallo!

    Gusto ko bumoto dito. First time ko bumoto.. naloka ako!! bumoto ako weeks before ng eleksyon dahil may world tour holiday ako sa day ng election. Nanlaki mata ko dahil ang haba ng balota.. 2 meters yata yon.. daig pa newspaper! tapos, di ko kilala mga kandidato.. nag mini myni mo na lang ako.. nalimutan ko na kung may picture yong mga kandidato.. pero kung meron.. im sure yong mga pogi binoto ko! =P

    – Tess

  30. Jim says:

    anonymous–I shouldn’t answer this since you are anonymously posting but…

    I have no problem with Mio being loud and drunk once in a blue moon. He was not hurting anyone. It’s good to behave like the native aussies once in a while. Lighten up. Didn’t you ever do that when you were young? I did.

    By the way, next time, please use a name or you won’t get an answer. I may even delete comments without a proper identity.

    tess–funny story!

    pinoyharbinger–amen



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