Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Not all Muslims are violent extremists, but there are a small number of them who espouse extremist beliefs and have resorted to violence. These extremist Muslims have terrorised those who do not agree with their beliefs and threatened people and families that are different from them. These extremist Muslims are a danger to society and should be purged, and the good Muslims should contribute to weeding them out. Muslims should report extremist and potentially violent Muslims to the police. If Muslims keep quiet, if they do not forcefully denounce extremist Muslims in their midst, then they are complicit in the crimes. Silence among Muslims in the face of violence perpetrated by these groups is tantamount to endorsement of the agenda of extremist Muslims. Muslims should prove their decency and respect for the law and American society by condemning and castigating the extremist Muslims in their midst.*

* replace "Muslims" with "Trump supporters" in the text; read again and see how you feel.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Hate trumps everything

In 2008 I predicted McCain will will because Americans are too racist to vote for Obama. Today I predict Trump will win because majority of Americans are racist, bigoted, misogynist, and gullible enough to fall for the empty bragging of a populist charlatan. I really hope to be proven miserably wrong again.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Hey, Pro-Life People

What happened to your "Thou shalt not kill" placards? You made a big deal about them during the reproductive health law debates. You were very concerned about the state giving its imprimatur to killing the unborn and the yet-to-be-fertilised. I would've thought you'd be equally concerned about the state giving its imprimatur to killing the born. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Apostles' Creed

I believe in the President almighty, bringer of life and death.

I believe in the War on Drugs, His central cause, ours too.
Drugs were perpetrated by drug lords, borne by pushers, consumed by addicts;
have corrupted, co-opted, and compromised society.
We have descended into hell.
In the previous administration the drug trade rose again;
they peddled it from prison, seated drug lords in government;
they will come again to blight the living and the dead.

I believe in the righteousness of killing criminals,
the infallible packing tape and cardboard,
the curse of human rights monitors,
the conspiracy of yellow-tinted media,
the narcopolitical opposition,
and the final victory of the President, everlasting.


Doomed to repeat it

There was a time when the mere allegation of Marcosian tendencies was enough to make a politician back down from authoritarian leanings. Now, politicians are openly suggesting the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, a constitutional dictatorship, and a remilitarisation of the police. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Suicide; Bisaya; Terrorism


Country elects a murderous, misogynistic, foul-mouthed boor. Country wonders why they're stuck with a murderous, misogynistic, foul-mouthed boor.  


His supporters-- heck even his official spokesperson-- attribute his crass boorishness to his being Bisaya. That's just the way they talk down South, they say. That's how they do banter down South, they say. 

Ok, I'm an arrogant, ethnocentric Tagalog who was born and raised in Imperial Manila. So I am not exactly an expert on Bisaya subculture. But I have Bisaya family members, Bisaya friends, and Bisaya colleagues. They're not crass or boorish. They don't pepper conversations with cuss words or make lewd jokes without regard to context. I'd say they are pretty decent and sensitive people, definitely more decent and sensitive than this Tagalog. 

You see, his crass boorishness has nothing to do with his being Bisaya. His crass boorishness is just because he is a crass boor. That is all. Nothing to do with being an outsider from the genteel halls of Imperial Manila. Don't insult an entire ethnoliguistic group in trying to defend him. Just accept and admit that he is a crass boor whose mannerisms do not always do justice to his high office. After all, he won't be the first person to hold that office with a penchant for swearing. Although he would be the first one to have no filter. 

Terrorism (from here)

The fundamental motivator of terrorism is not religion or ideology or money. It's self-righteousness. The firm belief that you are right and those who disagree with you, necessarily, wrong. Every dictator who ordered a massacre, every bomber who blew up a public space, every zealot who slew a heretic believed it was for the greater good, a righteous cause. Believe in your own righteousness and you can justify any atrocity your heart desires.

Defeating the drug menace is indeed a righteous cause. Up there with saving souls. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

On contributions to civilisation

Rep. Steve King Asks What ‘Subgroup’ Contributed More to Civilization Than Whites

Funny he mentioned Christianity. Jesus and the 12 apostles were NOT WHITE. They were Semites. Their closest genetic and linguistic relatives today would be the Syriac Christians; i.e., Arab. They'd look more like the Syrian or Iraqi refugees than the Europeans fencing them off.

If Jesus were alive today he'd be "randomly" selected at airports for enhanced security checks. If Jesus were alive today he won't be welcome as a refugee in many states. If Jesus were alive today he'd be unwelcome in certain political rallies.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Singapore, T minus 4 days


Gonna be out for 2 weeks, mostly for work in LIM but with a (very) short leisure trip to UIO and GYE. It's been a while since I had one of these long, multi-city trips and I have to say I'm pretty excited. But I'm gonna miss my Dear and the Boy too-- this will be the longest I'll be away from them, not counting the time I moved to Singapore and they were still in Manila. Even then I'd see them every 2 or 3 weeks.

Need to brush up on my Spanish.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

On he who is despicable

Repugnant as he is and everything he represents, he is still entitled to all the legal recourse due someone who may have lost an election. Let him pressure the commission into proving the integrity of the electoral process. Let him demand a recount or an inspection of the codes and machines, for you would be demanding the same if the numbers were the other way around. He should not be denied due process, or pressured to waive it, on account of who he is or electoral cheating three decades ago. That would not be decent.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Holy shit

It's happening. Holy fucking hell. IT'S HAPPENING.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Singapore, T minus 1.5 hours


Going on a holiday. It's the Boy's first long-haul trip, so let's see how this goes.

Gonna pig out on, um, pig when we're there. Jamon and chorizo, here I come (got my eyes on you too, Wurst).

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

How to defend Christianity and still be a Christian

Those who know me, or got to know me fairly recently, will find it weird that I am writing on this topic: I am not exactly what one would call pious. But I had an intensely religious phase (i.e., Latin-praying, Hebrew/Greek Bible-quoting, EWTN-watching phase), and in the two years leading to Jubilaeum 2000 I was actively involved in online Catholic Apologetics. Although I am now quite removed from those discussions, I still consider those years as rich learning moments. I learned a lot about what Christianity is all about, had a deep understanding of Catholic doctrine and tradition, and engaged in many intellectually stimulating discussions, taking the side of the Catholic Church of course. I remember lively exchanges with a Lutheran pastor on the True Presence; an Orthodox deacon on the Filioque; and a Mormon missionary on the Hypostatic Union.

I don't do that anymore, but just for now I am going to put on my apologetics hat once more. Why? Because I see so many presumably well-meaning people "defend" Christianity in a very unchristian way. While I can just sit back and let them wallow in their inconsistencies and absurdities, my ethics demand that I at least try to educate them to raise the level of discourse. Although I was doing Catholic Apologetics back in the day, the pointers are fairly ecumenical; i.e., applicable to all Christians, Nicene or otherwise. So... apologetics hat back on [cue "Porcelain" by Moby].

So you want to defend Jesus Christ and His Church. Well, good. Not everyone feels the need to defend what they believe in and stand up for the Lord. Not every one is called to be an apologist, to speak out in defense of faith. But then again, every terrorist, bigot, and racist stands up for their belief and defends their faith. So it's not enough to be defending what you think is the truth. As a Christian, there is a proper-- a Christian-- way to defend Christianity. And it's not as simple as shooting out a Bible verse.

1. Don't shoot out Bible verses like bullets. We're very familiar with this situation. There's a discussion on homosexuality and someone dishes out Leviticus 18:22. Mention divorce and you're sure to hear Mark 10:9. A preacher makes a long, rambling speech interspersed with Bible verses here and there to support his thesis. This is called eisegesis and it is the wrong way to interpret the Bible. It takes verses out of their textual, historical, and spiritual context and injects the reader's own assumptions and presuppositions into the meaning of the verse. Doing so also opens you to an easy counterattack: if verse A is so great, how come you ignore verse B? If you use Leviticus 18:22 to support your stance against homosexuality, you will be hard pressed to explain why you don't isolate women on their menstrual period (Leviticus 15:19-24) or why you wear cotton-polyester shirts (Leviticus 19:19). Of course, there is a way to explain these "difficult" verses in the Bible and it is through a method called exegesis, which interprets Scripture within its proper context to avoid clouding God's word with the reader's own biases. That's the way one should quote the Bible, not play verse lottery with it.

2. The Bible wasn't written in English. This is a corollary to #1: the Bible you are using may or may not be an accurate translation of the original. If you've ever tried translating any foreign language into English, you will probably be very familiar with how difficult it is. And while it's hard enough when trying to translate a simple prose like a recipe or news article, it's much harder when the original contains a lot of allegories, figures of speech, and linguistic imprecision. And the Bible is just that. Its various books were originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, each with their own cultural and linguistic complexities and nuances that do not have exact translations into English. And not all of them are as precise as English when it comes to tense, number, or time. Translators thus tend to inject their own biases (inadvertently or otherwise) in their translations. A common example is the translation of the Greek "paradosis" (something handed over): Catholic Bibles tend to translate this consistently as "tradition" (from the Latin "tradere") while Protestant Bibles translate this as "tradition" or "teaching" depending on context. This is not to say that your English Bible is unreliable. Just be aware that what you're reading in English is a translation of something written in another language and era, and to understand what it means you need to consider the language, context, and purpose for which it was written (see #1).

3. Don't misrepresent what you're defending. This should be basic, but you'll be surprised how many times I've seen would-be apologists fail at this. For example, "The Bible says that sex is only for procreation [insert Bible verse here]." Um, not really. "Only those who believe in Christ will be saved [insert Bible verse here]." Er, kinda but not exactly. "It's in the Bible so it must be true  [insert Bible verse here]." Well, yes, but.... Christian faith and morals have a lot of nuance and context, grounded on 2,000 years of philosophy and theology, and it is a misrepresentation to oversimplify. Know what the teaching is really about, what its grounds are, and what it means in this particular context.

4. Do your research. Saint Justin Martyr, one of the Church Fathers and an official Greek philosopher (i.e., authorised to wear a philosopher's robe), said that "All truth is Christian." Defending Christianity need not be afraid of science or history; if it is a fact, then it is Christian. If some scientific or historical fact does not square with what you think the Bible says, then chances are you are misunderstanding the Bible: this is actually the Catholic Church's official line regarding science (cf. Humani generis 1950Truth cannot contradict Truth 1996). There is nothing to be worried about science or history, so do your research and do it using objective sources (that pamphlet you got from a church pew does not count). You do not want to ground your argument on some "fact" that turns out to be wrong. Get your facts straight.

5. Know your court. You can talk all you want about the 24-second rule, triple doubles, and 3-point plays, but if you're in a football field all you've accomplished is sound like a fool. Same thing when discussing religion with people who don't necessarily share your beliefs. Don't invoke papal infallibility when talking with a Mormon or a Lutheran. Don't expect everyone to fold before your curated Bible verse (see #1) when talking in a secular setting where not everyone is Christian. Having a proper discussion means being on the same field. Know what assumptions are acceptable. If you want to steer the discussion towards a Christian field, coax your audience towards it. Don't just dish out a Bible verse (again, see #1) when they're talking about a secular policy.

6. Shorter posts require longer thought. This wasn't an issue back in the late 1990s before Twitter and Facebook. Back then we had the time and space to think of our argument, do our research, and compose a proper essay. These days one may need to make a point in 140 characters. I've tried it a few times (obviously this is not one of them), but I found that shorter posts require longer thought. Each word needs to count. Drop "some" and you've just made a generalisation. Add "may" and you have added a bit of nuance to your statement. You do not want to write a short post only to go back and defend it in 5 paragraphs because you said something that is not entirely correct (see #3). Brevity is not an excuse for a lazy statement.

7. But most important is love.  Ok, this sounds cliche, but love is really the most important part of apologetics. Apologetics-- the defense of Christianity-- is not meant to show how much you know or how great your logic is. Apologetics is really just another way to be a Christian witness, similar to doing charitable work or leading Sunday worship. Apologetics is not about demolishing the other person's argument. While it is tempting to make snarky remarks, call names, or make sweeping condemnations, the second you do this you have lost the cause. Defending Christianity is not about you making a point. It is about showing Christ's love through your words.

Defending Christianity is not easy: doing everything above takes a lot of time and thought. But no one ever said defending Christianity-- properly-- was easy. You might think that theological research and Biblical exegesis are too much work for a Facebook post when all you want to say is how much you hate gay marriage or artificial contraception, but to do any less would be a disservice to the faith you hold dearly. It would be unchristian.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Thirty years ago, I remember my parents watching the evening news on TV-- I noticed it looked different that night as the newscasters were informally dressed-- then suddenly my parents erupted in joy. "Yaaaay! Wala na si Marcos!" I was told to hurriedly wear my only yellow shirt (I didn't like it because it was too small for me) and the whole family drove from Las Piñas to Manila. There was a lot of ruckus and blaring of horns along the road, people in yellow holding up Ninoy/Cory signs and flags. My dad drove until there were so many people that we cannot drive anymore, cheered with a few people, then we headed back home via Coastal Road. Along the way, we stopped at a lechon manok stall that was still open and had a midnight snack (not sure what time it was, but when we left the house it was already past dinner so it must've been late). While we were eating a group of soldiers, in fatigues and brandishing their arms, came in. Seeing us in yellow, they immediately smiled and flashed the "laban" sign of the anti-Marcos opposition. They chitchatted with my parents while I examined their rifles and uniforms. They ate quickly and left before we finished our meal, giving my parents a Philippine flag badge-- the one soldiers place on their uniforms-- as a memento. After our lechon manok snack we drove home, got cleaned, and slept.

Friday, February 12, 2016

On Immanuel Kant

I know it's not the case, but I sometimes wish that I was named after this Emmanuel. His philosophy certainly influenced mine, from assumptions on human nature (ok, I was predisposed to agree with him) to areligious grounds for morality (to which I was not always predisposed). His intellectual honesty-- the son of a pastor, he set out to make a rational argument for faith but ended up being a father of agnosticism-- strongly appealed to me. Yet I do not place his philosophy on the pedestal of dogma; his theories are only regarded highly until they are falsified. He is not a fount of immutable truth, and the world is not always to be seen with Kantian lenses. Just as he would've wanted.

Bonus to find out that he might've been an Anglophile (I also am one, when I'm not being a Russophile).