IT MAY BE THE DEVIL OR IT MAY BE THE LORD BUT YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO SERVE SOMEBODY

August 12, 2004

mayroong koreanong temporarily na umupo malapit sa cubicle ko. kahapon pa ito namumuro sa akin eh. non stop kasi ang pakikipag-usap niya sa telepono tapos ang lakas lakas ng boses. di tuloy ako makapagtrabaho. bwakanginangyan, umiinit tuloy ang ulo ko. puntahan ko na kaya at sigawan ng “HEY KIMCHI BOY, WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO EXIT?” (in madertang: “hoy gago, ano bang gusto mong palabasin?”). distracted tuloy ako… asan na ba ako. ah, pag-uusapan ko sana ang transition ng power sa singapore. ngayon ang first day as prime minister ni lee hsien loong, ang panganay ni lee kwan yew.

after 14 years goh chok tong has resigned. with the economy on the rebound, he is stepping down a winner. he will still stay on though as senior minister and head of the monetary authority. what does this all mean to me, and more importantly, to my singaporean friends? allow me to share with you my thoughts.

nung isang araw over lunch, ang main topic ng discussion namin ay ang bagong government ng singapore (which starts today). malungkot ang mga kasama ko ritong singaporean dahil aalis na si goh chok tong. from the words of my opismeyts, eh it seems that he was really respected and loved. di mo raw makikita rito yung arrogance at pagkamalupit ni lee kwan yew. there is (daw, according to them) a big difference between fear and respect. lee kwan yew to them was fear, goh chok tong was respect. and true enough, prime minister goh was more like an older brother to the singaporeans – stern but fair and loving. as opposed to the abbrasive but still effective lee.

mayron nga akong isang kaibigang singaporean who thinks that goh chok tong is much better than lee kwan yew. but that of course is debatable. personally, i think they were products of their own generations. nung time na nag come to power si lee kwan yew, singapore was in deep shit at kinailangan nila ng isang leader that could straighten them all out. and that he did with an iron fist.

goh chock tong came into power when singapore was already on top of the world and all he needed to do was sustain their growth and make it better, so to speak. so he came accross as a man who was still sterm pero may puso. actually di naman siya nabigo sa mga plano niya as prime minister. kahit nagka asian crisis at SARS during his time, di masyadong naapektuhan ang singapore in the same scale as thailand and malaysia. pero sa tingin ko, matagal na niyang gustong mag resign. kaya lang di niya magawa hanggang hindi gumaganda ang economy ng singapore (to save face, ika nga ng mga intsik). ngayon faced with double digit growth at a lowering of the unemployment rate – nag decide na siyang mag quit. do it while you are ahead, that’s the way i’d do it as well.

starting today, lee hsien loong will take over. sino ba itong taong ito? siya ang panganay na anak ni lee kwan yew. educated in the west at nag rise through the ranks sa singapore military at eventually sa PAP, ang party ni lee kwan yew. all his life siguro, alam niya (at marahil, alam na rin ng lahat) na siya ang prime minister in waiting. such a heavy burden don’t you think? ngayon malalaman na natin kung what he’s made of – ampaw ba siya or bakal? pero teka, siya ba talaga ang magiging leader ng singapore? malakas pa ang tatay niya kahit over 80 na (who will know be known as “minister mentor” – ano yon? teacher ng religion), nariyan pa si goh chok tong who will now be senior minister. ang hirap sigurong maging leader when you have two strong people looking behind your back and perhaps second guessing you. sana hindi. pero it will be a tough job for him.

nariyan din yung concerns about “kamaganak inc” – maraming mga miyembro ng pamilya ni lee kwan yew hold sensitive positions. ang panganay niya ay prime minister, ang asawa nito ang head ng temasek holdings (ito ang pinakamalaking government owned private corporation), ang isa pang anak ni lee kwan yew ang head ng singapore air lines. so, in short, mayrong mga puna (although hindi malakas ang ugong dito sa singapore for obvious reasons) tungkol sa political dynasty-ism. pag kausap mo nga yung mga taxi driver, sasabihin nilang lahat ang mga ito sa iyo. ang mga taxi driver kasi rito, karamihan eh mga highly opinionated pricks ding sutil na tulad ko. hehehe.

marami pang mga ibang issues – ang pinakaimportante siguro ay yung patuloy na prosperity ng mga singaporeans kapalit ng paghihigpit sa kanilang mga civil liberties. perhps tomorrow, i will discuss it if you still are interested. if not, balik tayo sa mga kwento tungkol sa pangungulangot.

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No Responses Yet to “IT MAY BE THE DEVIL OR IT MAY BE THE LORD BUT YOU'RE GONNA HAVE TO SERVE SOMEBODY”

  1. bang & blame Says:

    uy, ayos ang post na ito. pero medyo naawa naman ako kay Lee Hsien Loong nang mabasa ko sa article na nakalink sa iyo na nagsuicide misis niya tapos albino at autistic pa anak niya.

  2. Dr. Emer Says:

    Eh tayo BatJay, anung tawag mo ke Cory Aquino, Fidel Tabako, at Erap Para Sa Mahirap? Looking after Mahal? Joke lang po! :0

  3. BatJay Says:

    parang greek tragedy ano – house of lee, instead of house of atreus. hindi naman siguro. i’m sure he’ll do well. otherwise, his dad will kick his butt. hehe.

    hindi nababanggit ang suicide na iyan dito sa singapore, nor any stories about his autistic child. according to what’s available online: “his first wife committed suicide in 1982 soon after giving birth to their second child, an albino with a mild form of autism”


  4. ano ba ang dapat itawag sa kanila doc emer? madam president, mr. presidents (este misters president). hehe. ano bang tama sa pagtawag ng dalawang presidenteng lalaki?

    “hoy” na lang para madali. pero bawal ang beso-beso sabi ng bespren mong president GMA

  5. rolly Says:

    “personally, i think they were products of their own generations. nung time na nag come to power si lee kwan yew, singapore was in deep shit at kinailangan nila ng isang leader that could straighten them all out. and that he did with an iron fist.”

    I agree. Maswerte ang Singapore at nagkaroon sila ng leader na angkop sa panahon at pangangailangan nila. At isa pa, ang mga lider nila ay handang magbigay daan sa mga pwedeng sumunod sa kanila. Isa lang ang tanong ko, ano kaya ng mangyayari kung ang Singapore ay kasinglaki at ang mga mamamayan niya’y kasing laki ng sa Pilipinas?

  6. batjay Says:

    kung kasing laki ng singapore ang pilipinas at sing dami ng tao? mahihirapan siguro. mahirap ang control ng katulad ng dito sa singapore na ultimo pag nguya ng chewing gum at pinapansin ng gobyerno.

    pero palagay ko – kung patas lang ang laban ng tulad dito sa singapore. kung walang corruprtion o kaya kung mabawasan lang ng kaunti ang corruption, kung equal playing field at meritocracy ang labanan. kung matino ang gobyerno – siguro, hihigitan pa natin ang singapore.

    yung lang naman ang kailangan sa atin. talent? we have it. substance? we have it. form? we have it. all we need is a decent system that will make us more forward.

    tapos ang bango bango pa natin, araw araw naliligo at may sense of humor. sky’s the limit ang kaya nating abutin.

  7. pegasus Says:

    perhaps we need a benevolent dictator?

    Ala lee Kwan Yew filipino style? hehehehhehe

  8. batjay Says:

    perhaps we do need a benevolent dictator? but will you be willing to sacrifice your civil liberties for prosperity? would you be willing to lose your freedoms so that you and your children would live in safety and abundance? on the other hand: what civil liberties am i talking about? what freedoms? many people have more freedom here because they have money and can do whatever they want and can go wherever they want to go. yan ang mga tanong.

    alam ko, marami sa pilipinas ay sawang sawa na sa hirap ng buhay ang magsasabi na payag sila sa kahit ano, basta masagana lang ang buhay.

    tatlong taon na ako rito, nakikita ko kung gaano kasagana ang buhay dito. naiinggit ako sa kanila dahil masarap dito sa singapore. pero may price. there always is. some people here have lost their souls.

  9. pegasus Says:

    parang sassy blog na to ah. hhehehe.

    Perhaps i am willing to sacrify those freedoms that we enjoy today, in exchange for some prosperity.

    What freedom indeed? Freedom of the press? (if sensational journalisn lang naman with the likes of teleprompter Noli and ABS-CBN , I would forego such freedom).

    I really dunno Mr. Batjay, since I was too young back then when martial law was on its full swing. ( i was born in 1978).

    Malaya ka nga, wala namang makain…

    Peace po. Seryoso ata usapan. hehhe:)

  10. Ting Aling Says:

    Minsan, naisip kong “dynasty-ism” is not altogether bad..kasi nga naman kung may interest ka sa isang business, you would like to protect your business from everything that is within and around your business..huwag lang sabayan ng corruption. Isang inspiring factor din yun di ba? Batjay, sa Singapore ba may corruption din (I mean visible ones). Kasi dito din sa West, meron din kaya nga lang di pa garapalan.

    Naisip ko lang..ang dami namang matatalinong mga Pilipino, bakit walang nag-ra-rise above?

  11. Jet Says:

    Sumilip lang ako sandali. Makikisabat ng konti mylab ha.

    Sabi ni John Adams (not sure but I think he’s somebody who figured during the civil war sa US?): I am a warrior, that my son may become a merchant, and that his son may become a poet.

    Nasabi ko lang ito kasi parang ganun ang naging pattern ng leadership dito sa Singapore… Mr. Lee fought his battles, a lot of formidable conditions that his country was beset in during his time, and conquered them.

    Mr. Goh, like you said, sustained the growth and managed to deliver a double digit growth rate and a decrease in unemployment.

    Now it’s the young Mr. Lee’s turn. Maybe we’ll see Singapore rise culturally? (there IS a painful lack of artists around, right? just go and watch Singapore Idol and you’ll see what I mean… hehe).

    If we have to forego our civil rights for abundance and prosperity, perhaps that is the way the cookie crumbles. Any change is hard to accept for the simple reason that it interrupts lives. But if we manage to look beyond that, and be able to take on some stings, jabs, blows or hard knocks, we’ll be able to do something great for our posterity.

    I think the Philippines is in chaos because we haven’t defined ourselves as a people. And no one has fought the battles that would bring order to the land. Heck! No one has even heard of the war… or refuse to. The long and short of it is, it’s each man for himself, no matter what trappings we foolishly put on… kanya-kanya kaya magulo.

  12. The Ca t Says:

    Helllowww,naliligaw ba ako? Kay Batjay pa talaga ito?Saan mo tinago si Sassy?

  13. tin Says:

    Warning: Sobrang haba ng aking komento. 🙂

    napanood din namin kagabi ang pag swear-in ni Lee Hsien Loong at ang mga kabinete nya.

    sa isang simpleng pinoy citizen na katulad ko, nakaramdam ako ng inggit. lahat ng mga binanggit ni prime minister na mga plano nya para sa locals dito ay mga realistic at attainable plans. mga planong kailangan talaga ng general public.

    though maraming hindi gusto ang pamamaraan ni Lee Kuan Yew, pakiramdam ko our country needs someone like him. hindi takot sa diktang baluktot ng masa at walang takot sa mga politikong handang manira sa mga gagawin nya.

    halos lahat if not all of our politicians have something bad to hide kaya di makaaksyong mabuti. palaging may “utang na loob” na iniisip kaya di makadiskarte on his own.

    sa sobrang laki ng pilipinas, dapat magsimula ito sa mga mayors, gayahin nila dapat si LKY. from this level up. pag di ba naman unti-unting umayos ang bansa natin e.

    too much of a good thing is bad. we exercise TOO much freedom in our country. 😦

    yun lang po.

  14. SaucyTambay Says:

    hey pagasus. pinagalan mo ba yung sarili mo based on the mythical horse or doon sa lugar sa QC? salamat ulit sa comment mo. ang itatawag ko na nga sa sarili ko ay “saucy tambay”. hehehe. para bagay.

    siguro magandang balance lang between personal freedoms and prosperity. sa isang idealistic na bagets, this may be unacceptable dahil gusto nila ay karapatan that is due them. but for a middle aging couple who has a household to take care of, this is truly welcome.


  15. gandang umaga tingaling. pag pinabanggit ko ang pangalan mo, parang gusto kong kumain ng sorbetes. pakiramdam ko rin eh para akong sakristan pag during the consecration of the bread and wine. hehe. maraming salamat sa iyong comment.

    di rin ako pabor sa mga political dynasties dahil nakita ko ang pangit na side nito sa pilipinas. at actually uncomfortable ako dito sa nangyari sa singapore. but it has worked for singapore. the reason why it has worked (so far) in singapore is that kahit may dynasty rito, kahit mga kamag anak at kaibigan ang nasa gobyerno at sa mga private corporations ay at least kalat ang distribution ng wealth. oo nga’t kumikita sila ng malaking pera sa gobyerno, pero, kumikita rin ang mga tao. tama ka – parang corporation ang pagpapatakbo ng singapore. chinese corporation to be specific. as such, talagang family at friend based. pangit kung sa unang tingin. pero maganda naman ang ginawa ni lee kwan yew. wala kasing corruption in the manner that is so frustrating as what we have in our country. the government services work – come over here and you’ll see that everything works, it’s so clean and green and the crime rate is so low that you can go out at 2 am and nobody will harm you.

  16. SaucyTambay Says:

    hi Ca T.

    sige na nga – tawagin nyo na lang akong “Saucy Tambay” para tribute na rin kay Sassy Lawyer. hehe.

    gagawa rin ako ng cooking blog: “The Naked Cheap”


  17. hi tin.

    nanood din kami ni jet kagabi habang kumakain ng mangosteen. bumili kami ni jet ng 2 kilo at naubos kong lahat habang pinapanood ang ceremonies kagabi. oo nga naiinggit ako sa bilis ng transition ng power (kahit kamag anak inc.), sa simplicity ng event at sa magandang speech na binitawang ni lee shien loong. hindi na nirequire ng election na pagkatagal tagal ng bilangan. wala rin yung mga away at bangayan at siraan na katulad ng election sa pilipinas. it was in fact, an uneventful event. probably the kind that they expect. which is not bad dahil nakapag transfer sila ng power ng swabe. which you can’t say na nangyari sa pilipinas.

    tapos maganda pa ang takbo ng economy ng singapore – mataas ang growth rate nitong quarter at bababa ang unemployment rate. all of these things are going for them. sana ganoon din tayo ano? perhaps some day. may pag asa pa rin naman ako sa bayan natin.

    salamat sa comment nga pala at kamusta na lang kay r. have a great weekend!

    jay


  18. hello mylab opmayn.

    buti naman at nagpahinga ka sandali sa iyong busy schedule para mag comment.

    ang ganda ng quote ni john adams. kung di ako nagkakamali, isa siya sa mga presidente ng US. anyway it is a great quote. naalala ko tuloy yung godfather (in a way) kasi di ba pangarap ni vito corleone na maging senator or presidente ang isa sa mga apo niya. to wash away perhaps his sins. bakit ba napunta ako sa mafia – dahil ba parang mafia ang pagpapatakbo rito? hindi naman siguro.

    but yes, you are correct in your point – we try to improve with eache generation. eventually one day to wake up and see that our children have become much better off that their parents. that is the goal of each gereration – to top off the previous generation. the purpose of the current generation is to prepare the next generation.

    perhaps what we need is some sort of middle ground. a balance of singapore’s orderliness with the pinoy’s soul. there can’t be too much of either or it’ll end up disastrously. perhaps give in a little of civil rights for abundance but retain the pinoy humor and love of life. that ‘ll be a great mix.

    sana nga magkaroon ng kaunting organization as you say – kaunting cooperation at collctive work para hindi naman each man for himself.

    ingat ka diyan mylab. lab U!

  19. Robbie Says:

    Napadaan po ulit. I agree with Batjay, about the sacrifices on some of the civil liberties here. Personally speaking, and being a PR here, maayos talaga ang sistema dito pero dahil nga sa retrictive in a lot of ways, parang nababawasan ang creativity ng tao. Just to give you an idea, kadalasan ‘pag sa tingin mo ay bawal, malamang na bawal nga (it’s a fine city anyway), so iiwasan mo na. Another example, para dumami ang nag-aasawa at nag-aanak dito, kailangan pang mag-promote ng “Romancing Singapore” campaign ang govt. What’s up with that? To do good deeds, they have “One deed, One lifetime” campaign, and the list goes on. yung ibang tao dito, kailangang paluin para tumakbo.

    Para sa pinas naman, sana nga ay ma-attain din natin ang level ng Singapore in the future. Pero it might take another generation bago ma-achieve ito. We pinoys surely not want another round of martial law era, lalo na’t buhay pa ang mga kabataan ng panahon na ‘yon. Many of us will refuse dictatorship, kasi maraming little issues sa pinas na kailangang i-settle pa, like the class divide, regional conflicts, komunista, aktibista, pasibista (sounding one myself), and partisan politics. Pero syempre, hindi pa rin ako nawawalan ng pag-asa, resilient tayo eh.

    Pero amidst SG success, lies the sorry state of the faceless citizens who did not have CPF savings. Sila yung mga matatandang nanghihingi ng tin cans sa hawker centers o di kaya namumulot ng mga kahon sa tabi-tabi.


  20. hi robbie.

    i couldn’t agree with you more. kahit matagumpay ang singapore, it comes at a cost. may problema nga sila sa creativity that comes with innovative thinking and personal initiative. bagay na mahina ang mga singaporeans. inaamin naman nila – which is why ang dami nilang mga programs (you’ve mentioned a few: romancing singapore, etc. etc.). yung mga kasama ko rin dito sa opis – a lot of times they wish they were in another freer country like australia, where their children can grow up like normal kids – far away from the pressure that they get from the schools here. wala raw time ang mga students to enjoy as children. in a way, microcosm ng singapore.

    sinabi ko rin many times, hindi lahat ng tao make it here. tama ka, there are people who fall through the cracks. ironically, a lot of them are the contemporaries of lee kwan yew. senior citizens who’ve helped him make singapore what it is today. and what do they get for it? poverty and poorly paid jobs kahit matandang matanda na sila, children who don’t want to take care of them because they have no time. just this morning nakita ko na naman yung lolo na naglilinis ng CR namin. naawa ako sa kanya – parang mas matanda pa siya sa mommy ko. at his age, dapat nilalaro nya na lang ang apo niya. pero narito siya sa opisina namin at naglilinis ng mga inodoro.

  21. jdavies Says:

    problema sa pinas mayadong maraming kusinero pag niluto ang isang bagay napakadaming nangingialam – kanya kanayang interes – ung isa gusto matamis isa maalat – ah saglit lang sabi nung isa dagdagan natin ng konting suka – puro epal lahat – lahat kasi may ambisyon pero kaunti lang ang pwesto so sira ang luto… if we have a leader who will sacrifice his liberties for others and allow others to do their job – just so everybody is in the spot light i think it will work. E sa system natin ang artista kaagaw sa TV time ang presidente ang senador ang periodista ang pulis ang reporter ang tambay ang lahat na — lahat gusto maging sikat.

    Dapat sa ‘tin pag hindi kaya aminin – ibigay sa kayang dumuskarte. Epal kasi mga pinoy lahat gusto leading role. E sino ang magtataas ng kurtina sa entablado? O di ba sablay???

  22. Ting Aling Says:

    ‘ka Batjay, huwag ka na mabahala sa tunog ng aking pangalan..ang pseudo kong eto ay dedicated sa isang nakakalokang ale. Nakakatililing ba he-he) Anyway, enjoy nga akong gamitin eto minsan.

    Anyway, di ko pa rin masagot tanong ko, nasaan yung mga magagaling na pilipino? o hanggang salita lang talaga tayo? — oopps, huwag matitililing ha!


  23. thanks for your comment Jardine Davies.

    appreciate your opinion and am glad that you spent time expressing it here. i can identify with your kusinero analogy. pag nagluluto ako, ayoko rin nakabantay ang asawa ko na parang backseat driver. sana nga mayron tayong mapapagkatiwalaan natin with our country. i hope that person comes sooner rather than later.


  24. hi tingaling.

    maraming salamat sa comment mo. marami namang mga magagaling na pinoy. naghihintay lang kung kailan gaganda ang takbo ng pilipinas. medyo catch-22 nga lang. dahil parang di gaganda ang takbo ng pilipinas kung walang magaling na pinoy.

  25. angelo Says:

    sino sino nga mga bagong kabinete m
    pang.arroyo


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