Spoon or Chopsticks?

Time to Learn a New Language?

While reading some of the personal details about the new Philippines president, Duterte, I’ve learned about some of the reasons Duterte holds such a deep dislike for America. And the more I read, the more I learn. The way I understand it, Duterte holds grudges longer than most people live; for example, he is apparently still upset about a century-old conflict way back during the American occupation in the Philippines when 600 Moros, mostly women and children, were killed in Mindanao, after a two-day battle in 1906. Even before he entered politics, he consistently echoed anti-American sentiments.  He was once a student of the Lyceum of the Philippines and a member of the Kabataang Makabayan, a leftist movement formed in 1964 whose leaders would later form the Communist Party of the Philippines.

Duterte also went head-to-head with the US government after a hotel explosion in 2002 when he claimed that agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation spirited suspected and injured bomber Michael Terrence Meiring out of the country and without any approval from the Philippine government. He then further eyed the U.S. when a bomb exploded at the Davao International Airport in 2003 and followed by another explosion at the Sasa wharf several more months after the hotel explosion that injured Meiring, and is when he began suspecting that the U.S. could have had a hand in the said explosions.

Duterte has also criticized the U.S. for their interventions in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, stating that “it is not that the Middle East […] exporting terrorism in America. America imported terrorism.” He added that jihadists were people “pushed to the wall” by US actions. Nonetheless, Duterte’s distrust for America is probably more well rooted than it is substantiated.

And even though Finance Minister Carlos Dominguez III described Duterte’s recent comments telling US President Barack Obama to “go to hell” as a “bump in the road” in a century-long relationship with the United States that maintains deep business and family ties, they do not overshadow Duterte’s most recent public statement to the Chinese where he declared that the Philippines relationship with the United States is “Officially” over.

New Skills Needed

This morning, my brother-in-law, who is working at our house on our ongoing construction project, was talking about how the Chinese are putting Duterte through his paces in that country, to determine his current and future allegiance to all Asian nations. He [DU30] was apparently asked if he used chopsticks or a teaspoon to eat with, and when he replied teaspoon (actually, they use tablespoons), the Chinese laughingly questioned his motives. It was supposedly suggested (jokingly) that if the Philippines wanted to become aligned with the Chinese, they must learn to adapt to more traditional Asian cultures and customs, like eating with chopsticks.

Mango Moment

It’s Just Another Mango Moment!

So, just before lunch break, I went back into the house and grabbed a pair of chopsticks which I proceeded to give to my brother-in-law. As I handed them to him, I suggested he go eat lunch and get some practice. “You’re gonna need to learn” I told him. “The Chinese are coming!”

I will remain optimistic however and look at this situation as a potential benefit to the filipino people going forward. If Duterte’s policy moves backfires on him and the country, there will be nothing lost as I see it. The real benefit to me is now I know what to buy for family members here for Christmas… their very own chopsticks!  I’m thinking I will save a lot of pesos this Christmas season.

Next week I might suggest to a few pedi-cab (padjak padjak) drivers I know that they might consider trading-in their bicycles for the more traditional rickshaw.