Taking politics into account when traveling, living overseas or searching for a country to call home is important. However, I have a rule. I will not write in-depth personal articles about a country’s politics. As a traveler I don’t think it’s my business to get involved with internal politics.
It’s up to a nations citizens, in a free society, to dictate a countries path.
As a traveler in The Philippines in search of a place to live, I can’t help but put this rule up for consideration.
Many long term readers of my journal will know that the political situation in Nepal is one of the reasons I left, near heartbroken, but with the gift of hope.
New amendment to the rule:
I will write about politics, but from my own perspective, on how it effects my view on making a specific country my home. However it will not include publizing nor promoting any political party whatsoever. I remain as with the first rule, neutral. As I believe, I should be.
Elections in The Philippines:
It’s not making international headlines anywhere, but, it’s election time in The Philippines. The current presidents term is up, and according to the constitution she cannot run for office again.
In a country that’s had scandal embroiled leaders for decades its good to see the gears of democracy working for once. However, all is not what it seems on the front page. Open the paper on Pinoy politics and you will see something much murkier.
I dubbed Vladamir Putin’s from President to ruling prime minister the new trend in political leadership “Doing a Putin“. Word on the street is that there are similar ideas here. Leader of the lower house is also allegedly on the cards.
Celebrity politics & Dynasty politics, my personal dislikes:
The current run of politicians running for presidency in The Philippines includes:
- husbands of actors & tv personalities
- former presidents convicted of plunder yet pardoned by current presidents
- religious types
- a person currently in prison
- a chief justice
- the son of a former president who’s related to famous actors
- and someone who crows like a chicken ( I joke not)
Quite a mixed bag, eh?
There are two main trends here. Actors or those related to them, and former presidents and their relatives.
Example of dynasty politics in the Philipines:
In southern Mindanao there is a family of politicians – the father was a congressman, the mother a governor, a nephew is vice-governor and a brother is congressman who is stepping down due to his term being up. A brother is looking to take over.
What’s happening on the ground:
Cars, shops and streets are clustered with billboards, signs, and posters. Weekend evenings are filled with party like political gatherings shouting out slogans and handing out paraphernalia to the beat of music.
New roads have been built faster in the last few months than in the past few years, it seems. Newspapers headline with rumors, and quotes of “he said / she said”.
At rallies trucks of villagers are being driven in, fed free food and allegedly seem to be given “donations” to support / promote a candidate as being popular. Again, let me point out, this is the word on the street.
There is an air of fiesta everywhere.
What are the People saying:
The Pinoy’s I talk to are not shy with talking politics. Yet they do so in two extremes. One half dance around as if their candidate is the next super hero coming to save the nation. The other half shrug them all off as being corrupt and as bad as the next.
The latter also say politics here is embarrassing, and the reason for problems in their country.
Ask about a candidates mandate and few can list them. The reason why they are voting for a candidate? I am told, ” *candidate name* is the lesser evil“.
Akin to …
Whenever there is a major event in The Philippines, its popularised by a fiesta. Earth hour is a prime example. The country, in particular certain regions in Mindanao, is being devistated by power outages. Yet Earth Hour was celebrated in some places with stage lights, loudspeakers blaring out music, and giant mega malls hosting them with all their lights on.
Yes, there are plenty of posters saying what it’s all about, but “somehow”, is the real message getting lost during all the pomp and fiesta?
When Manny Paquio ( boxer) recently announced he would run for Congress the media jumped at it, I wonder if the reality of fact is getting overshadowed?
Just recently two people accused of being involved with the mass murder of over 50 people including the killing of more journalists than anywhere else on earth were set free.
The electrical crises continues with no sustainable solutions in sight.
The world food shortage problem seems to have been forgotten about in light of what’s currently trending the media.
Thousands have been made homeless in a recent slum fire in Manila, little is being said about what any future or current government will do to help those with nothing.
My view on Global Politics in my search:
The age of political celebrity, and dynasty politics is a global phenomenon that’s growing. In the U.S.A. it’s been around for a long time. The President is in fact, the biggest celebrity in the country.
In the U.K. the Prime Minister is perhaps overshadowed by royalty. But, there are also two brothers that hold key appointments in government. Can you see the future here?
In France the covers of gossip magazines offer non-stop coverage of the presidents celebrity wife. And, people buy it.
In Nepal the Former King allegedly wiped out his whole family, the maoists came to power, then walked out. There’s still no constitution, and in fact, at the moment, the country is an illegal state. My guess is, the deadline will pass. And, there is a Banda (strike) today.
Where is it all headed?
I don’t know. But I do know: I don’t like its current direction.
In my global search to find a place to live I am finding myself looking at politics with a more weighty eye.
The west is becoming more totalitarian in a terrifyingly Orwellian way. While other countries follow suit, clambering for celebrity politicians, dynasty power holders, and all the while throwing caution to the wind.
My only answer is to turn away, but then again could that be shooting oneself in the foot …
The Arc of Darkness