Monthly Archives: November 2011

A Little About Communism

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This is a reflection on the insights I gained in reading chapter 8 of the book, Essential Readings in Comparative Politics by Patrick O’Neill and Ronald Rogowski, on communism and postcommunism.

Image courtesy of: http://cnreviews.com/life/living-in-china/shanghai-side-streets-snacks-sights-stories_20091002.html

Women soldiers marching for the National Day Parade in China celebrating the 60th Anniversary of the People's Republic of China

That a country can be as traumatized as an individual who had undergone immense hardships was a completely new concept to me. But Pye says that such are China and Russia. I was particularly struck with China’s. They hold many nationalist – more than national – celebrations, of which the spirit is empty to its citizens; the observations of which are not internal but all merely an exterior guise to parade the “success” of the ideologies of the state. For what should the state be lauded or in celebration for – the famine? the Tiananmen Square murders? Unlike here in the Philippines where we take a moment to at least recognize and talk about in the media national tragedies, e.g. Valentine’s Day Bombing, etc., such an act is unthinkable in China for it will only find the wrath of the government. Why can they not speak of the high accolade given Liu Xiaobo last year, the Nobel Peace Prize?  This is because for years he was imprisoned for his call to end communism in his homeland. A government that does not want any wrong to be said of it cannot be right.

Another thing that struck me from the fact that China has “no institutional way for people to protest” (Buruma, 2001), is how structures that allow us as citizens of this country to express – verbally, in print, or in whatever resourceful and inventive way we can air our opinions and grievances to and/or against the administration – are sorely needed in a state, and that this is a dire need is what I am recognizing as I get a more in-depth look at China’s government. Repression of the people, and one whose economy is advancing globally, paves the way for the enlightenment of a people brainwashed in the supremacy of the state over all, not the least of it a divine entity. This is because as China is becoming increasingly wealthy and modernized – much unlike their ideological brother North Korea, whose people have no way of knowing what is happening outside their borders – the Chinese are gaining more knowledge of the goings-on geopolitically. This is also, arguably, the reason for the Tiananmen protests of the 1989; students have become educated and informed and learned of what was repressive from what was not.

Aftermath of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, 1989. Demonstrating students were run over and crushed like tomatoes by tanks.

I read on Newsweek that China is taking steps to advance not only economically but also in terms of giving their people more voice. They have provided a way online for the citizens to state their concerns on a government website. My earnest hope is that they will incorporate more such channels for people to truly be heard. I don’t believe that a state should shut off the voice of the people because they are the recipients of whatever forms of manifestations the decisions of the state brings about.

To end, I will quote Marx: “The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win” (Marx, 1969). With that I surmise that Marx’s assertion is that communism frees from chains. This chapter has made me think about how corruption steals and how communism kills, an opinion I know will be met with not so little a disapproval. Nevertheless, this drives me to further ask, which is the more despotic oxymoron – corrupt democracy or freeing communism?

I am anti-communism.

References:

O’Neill, Patrick and Ronald Rogowski. Essential Readings in Comparative Politics. 2nd ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2006.

O’Neill, Patrick H. Essentials of Comparative Politics. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007

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Is Social Science Science?

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There exists the dispute of whether or not social science is science. Here, I intend to provide assertions gathered from reading Malcolm Williams’ Science and Social Science: An Introduction, on whether social science should be classified as a science or not. In conclusion, I provide a brief application to Philippine setting.

With natural science, variables may be controlled and manipulated. Conversely, the social scientist, who works with social variables, would have to deal with greater indeterminacy because of psychological or biological variables which sometimes cannot be subjected to manipulation.

The dilemma is that social science is more often than not, given its dependency on the individuality and innate changeability of human, subject to causal explanation, which natural science tries to do, by explaining how things come about and why with definite variables at hand.

Williams says that “the early aim of social scientific knowledge was to produce truths about the social world with the same status as truths about the physical world” (2000). Since social science was spawned from the desire to know and because “natural attitude towards the social world leads to everyday discovery” just as with natural science, I am inclined to assert that social science is science.

Natural science studies the elements of the natural world and its objects to try to understand their meaning and their purpose in order to have learned anticipation of what is to come. The difference is in what is being studied. In social science we study human behavior and their outcomes for very much the same purpose, and that is to understand and interpret things that come or are to come with knowing anticipation.

I do not believe that there is a need for social science to find its equivalent in the natural science or even try to be equal to it, to prove the strength and veracity of its studies. Let us be secure that although as scientists say, most social laws are probabilistic, the point is it still answers questions and phenomena to an extent of finding out its likelihood, therefore helping the human race read behavior and understand it. And who says that natural sciences are definitely correct? Scientific method is an evolution of different methods used. Facts that were for a long time accepted were eventually proved otherwise in the passing of time through new discoveries and learnings. In the same token, social sciences do their job in making us come close to fathoming the complexity of human behavior.

We can deduce that this question of whether science is a social science stems much from the fact that a social scientist works with so much diversity or heterogeneity. From psychological, physical variables to cultural ones, etc. Yet in this aspect of multivariability do I contend that social sciences are wonderful, in that it tries to understand something so complex and changing. It works with the physical, mental, sociological, cultural and other aspects of the most complex creation, Man.

Application to Philippine Setting:

The Philippines’ rich culture makes social sciences even more challenging for our social scientists. One discipline that comes to mind is our anthropology. Even if it is not as popular a field as engineering or IT, there are people out there who immerse themselves in far-flung places to learn more about our indigenous culture. So on the question of social science’s contribution to the enhancement of life, let me say that I have learned to appreciate our Philippine race even more upon reading the accounts of these anthropologists who painstakingly worked to introduce our countrymen who, more often than not, live in obscurity.

The contribution of social science is too great to be dismissed as mere folk psychology, just as we cannot say of science that it is a series of trials and errors that resulted to good guesses.

Reference:

Williams, M. (2000). Science and social science: an introduction. New York: Routledge.

Crab Mentality and Pinoys

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Pinoys have many good traits – resourceful, family-oriented, cheerful and hospitable. But we have lots of bad traits too, and one of them that needs to really go is CRAB MENTALITY.  It’s keeping us from progressing because pulling others from progress would also mean not progressing yourself.

I admit I possessed this deadly virus before, especially as a student, where the environment was very competitive. But even then, I was more on the defensive side. I refused to share academic resources with a classmate of mine (who was a friend so Boo to the old me). Fortunately, I realized my mistake and with time and Divine Intervention, and with people who were supportive to my successes, I was able to let go of it.

I was also lucky that I have not encountered people from the workplace who had crab mentality.

I am saddened when I hear of people who are victims of jealous officemates, and I have heard that Filipinos bashing Filipinos is rampant abroad. So sad because Kababayans should be there to help each other.

What irks me most is that some game shows promote crab mentality! The latest format of Game KNB, before the show was axed on air, featured contestants on “towers'” and they had the powers to make their opponents move farther from the finish line by making them move backwards (Atras). I liked the previous format where there was a stair and as the steps got higher, the spaces would be less until only one reached the top.

Another new game on Philippine TV that promotes this crab mentality craziness is “Susi Ng Kapalaran” at a noontime TV show, where other contestants can steal the keys of other contestants. This would make some contestants emotional, some would say “Bakit yung akin, bakit di na lang yung sa kanya? (sabay turo sa ibang contestant)” (Why take my keys, why just not take his/her key – referring to another contestant).

These people join these contest because they are hard up for money. Can they at least have a fair chance of winning and not feel bad about being robbed (of keys)?

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Another trait I strongly agree that Filipinos should possess is a Strong sense of urgency. Mr. David L. Balangue wrote an article about this on the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Follow the link below:

Wanted: A new Filipino! (Strong Sense of Urgency) http://opinion.inquirer.net/13135/wanted-a-new-filipino-strong-sense-of-urgency

walang magawa

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because i’ve nothing else to do on the buttcrack of dawn. 😛

DO YOU SNORE?: when i’m tired

LOVER OR A FIGHTER?: whatever

WHAT’S YOUR WORST FEAR?: secret

AS A KID, WERE YOU A LEGO BUILDER?: yep

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF “REALITY TV”?: producers can’t think of anything else to entertain people so they resort to show the very humanness of humans to the world. lol. but no, i don’t like reality tv that much.

DO YOU CHEW ON YOUR STRAWS?: when i feel like it

WERE YOU A CUTE BABY?: yes. ;p

HOW IS THE SINGLE LIFE FOR YOU?: oh so exciting, no strings attached!

WHAT COLOR IS YOUR KEYBOARD?: black

DO YOU SING IN THE SHOWER?: whenever i feel like it

HAVE YOU EVERY BUNGEE JUMPED?: i wanna try!

ANY SECRET TALENTS?: it’s a secret

WHAT’S YOU IDEAL VACATION SPOT?: somewhere beach-y or mountain-y or hilly

HAVE YOU EATEN SUSHI?: oh yes i love it.

DO YOU GIVE A DARN ABOUT THE OZONE?: sometimes

HOW MANY LICKS DOES IT TAKE TO GET TO THE CENTER OF A TOOTSIE POP?: does one have to count it?

CAN YOU SING THE ALPHABET BACKWARDS?: i have no time to do that

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN AN AIRPLANE?: oh, yes…lotsa times. i love flying.

ARE SPEEDO’S HOT?: whatever

WHAT’S YOUR STAND ON HUNTING?: i don’t care really.

IS MARRIAGE IN YOUR FUTURE?: no matter how hard i look, i simply cannot see it.

DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?: i love it

WHAT ARE YOU ALLERGIC TO?: nothing.

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU SAID “I LOVE YOU”?: hm, last night.

DO YOU CRY AT WEDDINGS?: sometimes, to my mortification.

HOW DO YOU LIKE YOUR EGGS?: sunny side up or hard boiled

ARE BLONDES DUMB?: i don’t care whatever people are like.

WHERE DOES THE OTHER SOCK END UP?: on my other foot. doink.

WHAT TIME IS IT? 12.46am

DO YOU HAVE A NICKNAME?: yes

IS MCDONALD’S DISGUSTING? no. I love it!!!!!!!!!

WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU WERE IN A CAR?: last night

DO YOU PREFER BATHS OR SHOWERS?: showers but i would like to try bubble baths

IS SANTA CLAUS REAL?: in drawings

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? depends

WHAT ARE YOU ADDICTED TO?: music, philippine and world history, world war 2, travelling, architecture, nature, etc, etc. omg i am such a nerd.

CRUNCHY OR CREAMY PEANUT BUTTER?: both!

HAVE YOU EVER RIDDEN AN AMBULANCE?: nope

HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU BRUSHED YOUR TEETH TODAY?: thrice

ARE YOU WEARING SOCKS?: nope

HAVE YOU EVER HITCH HIKED?: am planning to do that someday

WHAT COLOR ARE YOUR EYES?: dark brown

WHEN’S THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?: hm. last night.

DO YOU LIKE YOUR LIFE?: suuuuuuuuuuuure

WHOSE LIFE IS BETTER?: i don’t care whose life is better as long as i try to make what i can of mine and be a light of God’s love in this forsaken world. 

ARE YOU PSYCHIC?: no

DO YOU PLAY ANY INSTRUMENTS?: piano and a bit of the tin whistle

CAN YOU SKATEBOARD?: a little bit

DO YOU LIKE CAMPING?: sure

DO U SNORT WHEN U LAUGH?: once when i was dreaming, then i woke up coz i was actually snorting while laughing.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC?: in a young girl’s heart, how a music can free her whenever it starts.. lalalala, lalalala

IS A DOG A MAN’S BEST FRIEND?: sure

YOU BELIEVE IN DIVORCE?: i believe that those people who have divorced shouldn’t have gotten married in the first place.

CAN YOU DO THE MOONWALK?: nah

DOES YOUR MOM KNOW YOU HAVE A MYSPACE?: does my mother even know what myspace is?

WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE? a sambo, which is something like silvanas, only lighter and so much sweeter and crumblier.

DO YOU WEAR NAILPOLISH?: oh yes. i love nail polish. 

DO YOU LIKE SOMEONE RIGHT NOW?: no

WHAT’S THE MOST ANNOYING TV COMMERCIAL?: anything that panders to women’s vanity.

FAVORITE BAND AT THE MOMENT?: she and him