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4th Quarter 2000

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Moros: JUETENG For Deliverance?

Understanding The Mindanao Conflict
Samuel Tan

Ethnic Cleansing In Mindanao
Fred Hill

After Abubakar's Fall: What? 
Patricio Diaz

Is Federalizing The Republic The Solution To Mindanao?
Aquilino Pimentel, Jr.

Constitutional Accommodation of a Bangsamoro Islamic Region
Soliman Santos, Jr.

Mindanao Movements
Nash Maulana

Sulu Saxophone
Carolyn Arguillas

Explaining Erap's
B(ad) Movies

Said Sadain, Jr.

The Palestinian Intifada
Zafar Bangash

Creative Writing Section
What's Inside:

A Muslim's prayer for peace
by Aminah Sharief Goling

In my own Mindanao
by Geejay Arriola

Abdul on the eve of an ambush
by Said Sadain, Jr.

Then & Now
by Macario Tiu

Death On The Tarmac
by Fr. Picx Picardal
Spirits In The Box
A Short Story

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(Said Sadain, Jr., from Jolo, Sulu, is editor of the Bugsnbytes eZine and author of the book Bugs & Bytes, In Bigger Prints)

Explaining Erap's Bad Movies by Said Sadain, Jr.
Movie posters

The Philippine President Joseph Estrada is fighting for his political life in this mess dubbed as ‘Juetengate’. In his own words, it is ‘just like in the movies…’.

Erap speaks some figments of truth for once. It is indeed just like in the movies, although he may not find the ending of this one movie to his liking. At least he tells us straight what this is all about, with a very good degree of accuracy and (accidental?) discernment: a distinctive Filipino movie culture.

For one, it is of course about Erap himself. But beyond the character of the person is the character of the culture that nurtured Erap and allowed him to take a nation hostage to his iniquity and debauchery.

It is a movie & entertainment culture that routinely makes people feel good about the belief that a movie star is necessarily good and that the lifestyles of these movie stars, in or out of the movies, are necessarily good.

It must be that, otherwise, people would not be patronizing this industry with their hard-earned money and time. It must be that, otherwise, people would not be so blind as to be so star-struck to vote into office most movie stars that venture into politics.

It is in fact a dominant culture that promises, for the ordinary person, to weave his dreams and hopes, and to erase his nightmares and miseries, from one movie or TV show to another, hour to hour, day to day, weekend to weekend, year in year out.

It is bad enough that this pre-occupation is such a waste of time and resources. This same movie culture moreover also routinely makes people believe that the Filipino way of life is replete with drinking and gambling bouts with the barkada, carnal trysts with the mistresses, an endless string of camaraderie, singing, dancing and hedonistic bonding, all within the bounds of acceptable behavior and tolerable situations in this proudly Catholic country. It teaches that success or failure can be had in less than one or two hours of reel time. It impresses an illusion and an addiction that people mistake for modernity and progress.

This culture may seem only recent, seemingly inspired by Hollywood and MTV. Some people would trace it back to the Marcos years when the arts & entertainment industries were encouraged by the dictatorship to take the people’s mind and attention off their empty tables and teeming detention camps.

But then, think again. It is of course anything but recent.

It is also a culture that engulfs so much like the skin within which one has grown into. It is the same culture that gave the Philippines its name as a vassal nation of somebody named King Philip of Spain. It is the same culture that Spanish padres and tenientes taught the natives of this land so that they may learn to revel in fiestas and siestas while their daughters are raped in confessionals and their sons are shot by firing squads or tortured in cells under walled cities. It is the same moro-moro plays that duped the natives into believing and patronizing the life of their conquerors as their eminent destiny while providing them with the hatred, fear and contempt of their fellow natives as the nightmare that they should eliminate.

It is the same culture that entranced the Indios into submissiveness and willingness to give from the last of their daily bread, or offer their other cheek, in order to enrich or placate some distinguished masters for their perceived deliverance, unknowing, unbelieving of their own inner strength, clinging to images of their idols and altars as sheep being herded to their slaughterhouses.

Filipinos have learned so well as to accept this as their own culture, their identity and destiny. With proud and smiling faces, they patiently line up to buy their show tickets and soak in their iniquities and debaucheries.

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