Sunday, March 2, 2008


The international community is abuzz about Thaksin Shinawatra’s first ever journey back to Thailand after having been deposed as prime minister in a 2006 coup.

Who is this man, that even the most powerful countries in the world would make his homecoming top story? BBC covered his dramatic homecoming extensively, and so did CNN. After having been in exile for 17 months where he also had the chance, of all things—to own one of Britain’s top football teams-- the billionaire businessman was finally hauled directly to court, to face long-overdue graft charges.

This only shows how Thailand occupies a very prominent spot in the sphere of international relations.

In contrast, the escalating protests and corruption scandal now rocking the Arroyo administration has so far, failed to elicit even the slightest attention from the world’s top news organizations. Right now, even in my own little international circle of friends, nobody just seems to be interested. Everybody knows who Shinawat is. But Arroyo?

The tragic thing is that, in spite of all the disgrace and defeat surrounding Thailand’s former PM, he’s still considered a person of great significance. In our case, in spite of all the disgrace and dirt surrounding Gloria, foreigners just don’t give a damn and oh wait-- what do you know?! So do Filipinos themselves! Masuwerte talaga ang lola mo!

What have we done as a people, to become invisible in the eyes of the world? Why has this nation become a major laughing stock? Why are Filipinos apparently not being taken as seriously as their Asian neighbors, and not being respected the same way?

Was it the two, three, or perhaps even four so-called “people powers” where not even a single official spent a day in prison after having been found guilty by the highest court? Was it the hasty pardon, unconditional at that-- granted to a former president-convict, justified brazenly not on the national interest but rather, on the political survival and convenience of one? Or is it the fourteen soldiers, then young and innocent-- who’ve spent their entire lives in jail for an assassination they knew nothing about? Or is it the three-thousand-strong who leave the country’s shores each day, opting to live or work in foreign shores rather than their own?

The questions never stop.

But worst of all is the shame. Shame-- coming from a country that just could not govern itself, much less with integrity and honesty. Shame, being borne of a people with chronic short-term memory loss. Shame for being part of a country that has no self-respect. Shame, coming from a nation with a repetitious history of dishonest leaders and failed institutions. A country that never learns.

And now what do we have to contend with? Who do we have to live with? Who is this person whom we allowed, through inaction and neglect, to pursue an unprecedented, incredible greed for power at our expense? Who is this person who now pompously assumes the right to make crucial decisions solely at her own whim? Who is this person who commands mercenaries and thugs-in-uniform, and entire bureaucracies to do her bidding however immoral and unjust-- to conceal the truth by all means?

We have to act now before we lose everything…

1 comment:

  1. With Gloria's dealings with China, we might end up being its newest province.