In April 2017, President Rodrigo Duterte unveiled that at the heart of his economic blueprint is the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure program. We were told to expect the continuation of New Clark City that houses the Clark International Airport, and the new smart business district. The Mega Manila Subway and the Mindanao Railway were also promised as transport initiatives to solve the mobility problems in our cities. These are but a few of the examples among the many infrastructure projects set to start during his administration. Hence, it is just rightful to dub President Duterte’s administration as the second golden age of infrastructure in the country, succeeding the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
It has not been long since our President joked about rape. He said “for as long as there are many beautiful women, there are plenty of rape cases as well." That did not make me laugh. It has not been long since a female vlogger cried in an Albanian TV show when the host tried to convince her that objectifying women is funny. That did not make me laugh too. It also has not been long since a guy I went on a date with, commented on my job and said that women who get promoted must be good in sucking dick, literally. That still did not make me laugh. In fact, I glared at him. My reaction somehow elicited the five magic words that I am so used to hearing by now: learn to take a joke.
The modern personification of justice was first used in ancient Rome. Lady Justitia, as it is called, is often depicted as a woman with a weighing scale in one hand, a sword in the other; her eyes behind a blindfold. Impartial, fair, stern, and unyielding, she is all these and more. The Romans, whose laws and acts of persecution, names, titles, deeds, and practices within courts and governing halls echo still even today, based their society on the concept that law is absolute. From the lowest proletariat to state senators, they are all subject to persecution within reason, their crimes punishable in a culture that hinged on order and discipline.
Such popularity echoed Ben Davis’s discussion in Art and Inequality (2013) where he presented reasons for the necessity of art fairs. It was a response of galleries and dealers to the pressure to compete with auction houses and to tap the global art market. Art collection, traditionally a domain of the elite, is brought nearer to the masses, in the aim to sell more especially work by emerging artists.
Aba’y bakit hindi? Ayon sa pag-aaral na ginawa ni Anna Vital, Founder at Information Designer ng Adioma.com, tinatayang 80,000 katao ang makikilala ng isang tao sa buong buhay niya, samantalang 47 milyon naman ang bilang ng mga taong gumagamit ng Facebook sa Pilipinas at nadaragdagan pa. Kung iisipin (at gagamitan ng Math) lumalabas na 0.17% lang ng kabuuang populasyon ng mga Filipinong gumagamit ng Facebook ang 80,000 na kataong maaari mong makilala sa buong buhay mo. Tuldok lamang kung iisipin. Patak lang ng tubig-alat sa dagat. Kaya kung lilisan ka sa mundong ibabaw (huwag naman sana) madali lang kakalat ang balitang wala ka na. Pero ang tanong, puwera kompyutasyon, sinu-sino ang may pakialam sa balita?
The exposés on these misogynistic subcultures continue when the Youth Against Sexual Harassment (YASH) revealed the art of “picking up”, or meeting women for the purpose of getting them into bed, being institutionalized by Pick-up Artist Academy. Claimed to be “Asia’s leading dating company”, it had 27,547 Facebook page followers and 11,220 group members also before the Academy’s accounts were deleted. In Sein “Smooth” Meneses’s guesting on The Sweet Life, he introduced the Academy as a school that teaches men “on how to have a value”. The Academy transforms men from being “nerdy-type guys” who don’t know how to talk to women, to confident pick-up artists who have a hundred percent success rate of winning their “target”. Neil Strauss’ The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists (2005) affirms the pick-up artistry’s philosophy of reverse psychology and of push and pull mind games to exude the air of mystery that traps the target into the “game”. Their seminars and workshops are eventually culminated in hands-on trainings in clubs and in malls. What Smooth did not disclose in the lifestyle television show was that they do observe the tradition of sharing their “field reports”, which include videos and photos of their dates and sexual intercourse with the target to the rest of the community. A thread is now circulating in Facebook and in Twitter that warns women that these pick-up artists are continuing their self-validation-seeking deeds through dating applications.
When we meet our friends in real life, we get to find out about the rest of the story. We get to know the sad, dark parts that nobody would consider posting about. We learn how they see what’s going on in their lives, rather than what they’d like others to see. But when we add people we don’t really know, or when we fall out of touch with real-life friends everywhere except on Facebook, the reverse happens. No longer do we have context through which to view the stories they present. But the feed scrolls on, and they keep on posting. Over time, we end up remembering the lives of our “friends” as being uniformly happy.
Being a university student in today’s fast-paced world is an experience that is both stressful and fulfilling at the same time. It is amazing to think that we can access all of human knowledge in a matter of a few swipes while also managing to keep in contact with thousands of people all over the world. In a time wherein technology is improving everyday and information is moving faster than ever, it has unfortunately become a common practice to neglect our own health.
544 kilometers away from the capital, a different story unfolds in Baggao, Tuguegarao City. A ritual begins for those who return to what was once their home, where pieces of broken metal and rotting wood provide evidence of what has been swept away. Amid the fallen carpet of debris, a lifeless body is sometimes found then carried away. When Filipino resilience inspires more faith than sound environmental policy, sons and daughters must pick up whatever pieces they find and begin again.
Opisyal na lingguhang pahayagan ng mga mag-aaral ng Unibersidad ng Pilipinas-Diliman