Fear or prejudice?

"What's important is we continue to Build, Build, Build minus the graft and corruption that characterized our sordid past."

Even while a visitor, in this case President Xi Jinping, was still in Manila, we got a slew of dire warnings from everybody and his mother about the “dangers” of a “debt trap” in the offing as our governments signed a number of trade and investment deals.

Never mind the political opposition.  With the forthcoming elections in mind, expect noises from them. They will always play to their perceived peanut gallery.

And never mind the Left and their anti-foreign hysteria. For the longest time, they have been crying out loud against American influence, labeling every president a US puppet.  Now they have found another straw man, this time America’s competitor for economic dominance, China.  And don’t even bother reconciling the Left’s conflicting stance vis-à-vis US and China. 

To them, Duterte is a puppet of both the US and China. Sign loans with Japan, and they would also call him a Japanese puppet, except that at this time, they would rather focus on the US and China.  Buy arms from Russia, and they will shout as well that Duterte is a Russian “babushka.”

A certain Capital Economics, that London-based “think-tank” headed by Oxonian Roger Bootle, along with an all-white bevy of economists suddenly trots out warnings of impending doom, fatuously saying that the Philippines would be better off without Chinese investments.  And they pick the most egregious examples of foreign aid gone wrong—the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan leadership put up a huge port in the Indian Ocean without properly studying its economic prospects or viability. Saddled with a huge debt, they leased the property to the Chinese for 99 years.

Has Duterte and his economic team been as reckless?

Do we need to revive the Bicol Express, which several administrations left to decay into uselessness for decades?  Is a train service transporting humans for mobility and cargo to bring food prices down necessary or not?  Do we have the wherewithal to finance such a huge undertaking? 

Not unless Duterte puts all his predecessors, their customs and other officials in Bilibid and gets them to open their bank accounts here and abroad, with the threat that Bato would do them in otherwise.

We also want to have a railway to Clark, and this time we are asking Japan to help us, but is anyone crying out against the Japanese?

We want to improve our telco service, which is probably the worst in Asia by now. A young businessman whose grandparents came here from Fujian a century or so ago partners with China’s giant telecom firm and bids fair and square for the project. Again, everybody and his mother warns us about the “national security” peril of being enmeshed with China Telecoms.

Assuming for the sake of argument that China Telecoms would have access to the impure thoughts of our government officials and every civil servant, thus pitting “national security” at risk, will the third telco bother to snoop on each Juan and Juana de la Cruz as well?  So let government use the internet and cell phone service of Globe and Smart, if we are afraid of perils to “national security.” 

Maybe they would feel more “secure” with Singapore’s Singtel and Indonesia’s Salim, who are the Globe and Smart operators anyway.

For years and years, nay, decades, our governments looked the other way around as needs of a Malthusian-burgeoning population multiplied.  Now we decry the absence of such services, from mass transport to better roads to telecommunications, absolute necessities in this day and age.

Why even the most basic of needs— water.  Metro Manila stands the risk of a water crisis in another twenty years, so we need a dam to trap the rains cascading down the Sierra Madre.  We’ve been talking and talking about this Kaliwa Dam for ages, and now, because the Chinese government volunteers to finance the project, we throw all kinds of brickbats and fears.

A neighbor trying to be friendly after being shunned by a previous leader and milked of commissions by previous others approaches a new president in the person of Duterte, who willingly accepts their assistance, and we cry out against both of them.

Is it fear that motivates these?  Or is more a case of prejudice?

I cannot for the life of me understand where the “hugot” comes from.

The Americans colonized us for half a century yet we idolize them.  The Japanese occupied us for four years (my own grandfather and an uncle were massacred by retreating Japanese troops in February 1945 which is why I never knew them personally), with thousands upon thousands of our people dead and suffered, but how quickly we have forgotten and forgiven.  A few graft-tainted reparations in yen, and we “open our legs.”

The Americans sell obsolete war materiel to us for overpriced amounts and we shout hallelujah.  Little brown Americans!

The Chinese, whose forebears came to our shores as friendly traders, and never colonized an inch of our territory even during the apex of their ruling dynasties, and whose succeeding generations have lived amongst us in peace, and inter-married with our different tribes, mindless of religion or cultural differences, are treated differently vis-à-vis the white Americans, the yellow Japanese, and even the similarly white-skinned and hairy-bodied Katsila.

Is that fear?  Or prejudice?

Or is it simply because our Chinoy classmates always excelled in math subjects where for some strange reason we Pinoys “hated,” driving many of us to become lawyers because all that profession needs is a little logic and a lot of “laway”?

Is it because for some strange reason, that Chinoy who owns a big grocery in our hometown from where we buy our goods, only used to hawk and peddle in the wet market, while we are still “slaving” in our eight-hour lowly-paid jobs?

Is it because Lucio Tan and John Gokongwei, Henry Sy and now Dennis Uy are getting as rich, if not richer than the Spanish Zobel-Ayalas who we used to equate along with the Soriano’s as business royalty?

It’s more like “inggit.”  Pure old-fashioned envy.

 But coming from the white-skinned run “think tanks,” and the never-say-anything-good Left along with their fellow travelers in opportunism amongst the political opposition,  never mind.

What’s important is we continue to Build, Build, Build, minus the graft and corruption that characterized our sordid past, and thus enable our saling-lahi to reap the fruits of our labors and our vision.

Topics: Xi Jinping , Lucio Tan , John Gokongwei , Henry Sy , Dennis Uy , China Telecoms
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.