Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Pass Application, Jln Jln and MM on the Philippines

It has been a fine, hot day with occasional thunder, but no rain. I visited Peninsular Shopping Centre before noon to pass my Student Pass application form to a “Michelle.” She told me that there would have to be a few more days to submit the application online as the PSC office is only temporary. I wondered why it had to be online, but I didn’t pursue it because I believed that she knew more about the procedure than me. And I forgot to bring, or I totally didn’t think about, the certificates and testimonials from my schools and former employers. Then, I need to see her again tomorrow. On Friday, a trip to JB…

I climbed up the Fort Canning for the first time and jalan jalan around the city hall area to take photos and went as far as to the Fullerton Hotel. After many years here, I was acting like a tourist. This is all because of my new camera, my experience working for papers, and also because I need more photos to be used as class materials and . Nobody knows which photo can be used for particular classes. Thus I need many for possible future use.

[Ferdinand] Marcos did not consider China a threat in the immediate future, unlike Japan. He did not rule out the possibility of an aggressive Japan if circumstances changed… (p. 337)

International outrage over the killing [of Benigno Aquino] resulted in foreign banks stopping all loans to the Philippines… [Marcos] sent his minister of trade and industry, Bobby Ongpin, to ask me for a loan of US$300-500 million to meet the interest payments. I looked him straight in the eye and said, “We will never see the money back.”…

Shortly afterwards, in February 1984, Marcos met me in Brunei at the sultanate’s independence celebrations. He had undergone a dramatic physical change… He looked most unhealthy. An ambulance with all the necessary equipment and a team of Filipino doctors were on standby outside his guest bungalow. Marcos spent much of the time giving me a most improbable story of how Aquino had been shot.

As soon as all our aides left, I went straight to the point, that no bank was going to lend him any money. They wanted to know who was going to succeed him if anything were to happen to him; all the bankers could see that he no longer looked healthy… I asked whom he would nominate for the election. He said Prime Minister Cesar Virata. I was blunt. Virata was a non-starter… Marcos was silent, then he admitted that succession was the nub of the problem. If he could find a successor, there would be a solution. As I left, he said, “You are a true friend.” I did not understand him. It was a strange meeting. (pp. 337-339)

… I asked the learned lady what lessons her [constitutional] commission had learnt from the experience of the last 40 years since independence in 1946 would guide her in drafting the constitution. She answered without hesitation, “We will not have any reservations or limitations on our democracy. We must make sure that no dictator can ever emerge to subvert the constitution.” Was there no incompatibility of the American-type separation of powers with the culture and habits of the Filipino people that had caused problems for the presidents before Marcos? Apparently none.

Endless attempted coups added to Mrs [Cory] Aquino’s problems… Without President Suharto’s firm support, the [Asean] summit [of December 1987] would have been postponed and confidence in Aquino’s government undermined.

… This was a pity because they had so many able people, educated in the Philippines and the United States… There was no reason why the Philippines should not have been one of the more successful of the Asean countries. In the 1950s and ‘60s, it was the most developed, because America had been generous in rehabilitating the country after the war. Something was missing, a gel to hold society together… (pp. 340-341)

… Fidel Ramos… was more practical and established greater stability. In November 1992 I visited him. In a speech…, I said, “I do not believe democracy necessarily leads to development. I believe what a country needs to develop is discipline more than democracy.” In private, President Ramos said he agreed with me that British parliamentary-type constitutions worked better because the majority party in the legislature was also the government. Publicly Ramos had to differ.

Cory Aquino is suffering of cancer...

(Photos: Fort Canning, Fort Canning, (same old) Merlion, Anderson Bridge, Esplanade Theatre (L) and Singapore Flyer (R), Indian National Army Monument, St. Andrew's Cathedral, covers of "TIME" and "Newsweek" reporting the "People Power" in the Philippines in 1986)

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