The pauper and the rich man: the case of Philippines and China

The news about Mar Roxas’ (and others’) unsuccessful mission to China is if I can suggest an imagery like a pauper knocking at the door of a rich man, begging to be let in so he can ask the rich man to move his limo parked in the way of his sleeping corner. Whoever heard such a thing right – a pauper standing up to a rich man?

The stand-off with China is essentially about economic and military might. In the battle of equals, it’s about each one having impossible-to-say-no-to cards safe-kept somewhere, to deal tough opponents with when the game takes a strange twist. What economic and muscle power cards do the Philippines have for China? The Panatag Shoal, it is what China’s pointing at. Perhaps what China’s really saying which is at the back of our minds but don’t want to recognize is it wants to buy up the Shoal – so name our price. Ah now we’re talking the same language, China would say. And to Filipinos what difference does the sale, if ever, make compared to the selling of land rights in the mainland to foreign miners?

The worst and scariest thing for children of families gone bankrupt is to hear adults they depend on – their parents – to confirm the family situation “yes, kiddos, there’s nothing. no more jet setting holidays. we’re moving into a hut tomorrow.” On the same note, there’s nothing so sad, scary, and humiliating for citizens but for the State to tell them, either in action or word, “people, we have nothing to deal with in exchange unless our opponent accepts a lifetime supply of bananas.” In fact, China, figuratively speaking, is threatening to sue if we don’t pay off our loan from them right away. “So people can you tighten your belts a bit more and postpone your futures and send in more taxes?” Oh my. It’s really really time for this country – its elect leaders to well lead the way – to wake up, shake up foggy minds and jellied limbs, and with new hearts get a move on double triple time.


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