Sunday, October 17, 2004


Ghostly Posted by Hello

Pic: Ethereal visitors stream past the Ghost train as the ticket lady looks on. The same is true for the people here, adrift in a nation beset by various problems, trying to find substance to their lives and the hope of rebirth in an ever greater nation. Bolinao, Philippines, 2004.

People power helped topple two governments. The first was the Marcos regime whereby the army sent to subdue the people instead joined with their struggle along with the church to oust President Marcos, a virtual dictator from office. The other time was when the people rose when President Estrada was found to have practiced corrupt practices in office. The democratic process in the Philippines would bewilder any Malaysia. Not only that there are countless parties, big and small trying to win seating in the Parliament but also for the amount of voting for city legislature, Barangay (provincial), senatorial post, parliament and president. Elections can turn ugly and dirty at any time. Corruption and the buying of votes are prevalent and the election commission (COMECOM) has to face situations such as mob violence, hijacking of ballots by gun point, threats from politicians, allegations of communist infiltration to parties and injury to personals in disputed zones. Every week there, news feature bomb threats, rallies and armed violence. As we were in the rural areas during the last Presidential elections, we were spared the bulk of it.

It was interesting to note that the array of presidential hopeful included the daughter of a former president, a porn actor, a socialist reformer and an evangelist. Even when results were being counted, voting discrepancies were worming their way out and a near count resulted in the threat of violence by the opposition to President Gloria Macapagal’s win. But the campaigns are also colourful, campaigning period lasts for more than three months, poster wars means that every square inch of free space is plastered with candidate’s ads. Fiestas are organized, sponsored rallies and events, meet the people sessions and even politicians singing on national television! Well it is truly a circus out there and I doubt I would like such a scene here in Malaysia. They may say democracy is alive in the Philippines but I see it as orderly chaos!

1 comment:

bayibhyap said...

There is often a debate whether the people are actually ready for the form of democracy they are practising. Actors and other entertainers invariably get elected. And so do scions of dynasties. Thugs make it to the top of the political ladder. Maybe you are right. "Orderly chaos" best describes the whole scenario.