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Mar. 27th, 2010

Not your normal, everyday violence

Polytechnic University of the Philippines

University of the Philippines

by Frank Lloyd Tiongson
Those squeamish, middle class, “educated” liberals? Yeah, they’ll be the first to pull the trigger when someone hands them a gun.

Because in the middle class imagination, there is only one kind of violence: the pitchfork-wielding-mob type, the rampaging-soccer-fanatic type, the genocide-instigating-tyran
t type. And when their own naïveté slaps them in the face, when they have been pushed into a corner, they will only know how to wield the same kind of violence – the mindless, destructive kind.

It is no wonder that various forums are flooded with the self-righteous condemnation of the “violent” mass demonstrations in UP and PUP. Throwing school desks from balconies, forcefully barricading the administration building, and lobbing paint at a school administrator, they say, were too much. Those militant activists, a lot of them would say, were uneducated, incompetent fools who let emotions get the better of them. I also saw at least three people quote science fiction writer Isaac Asimov: “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” Well and good. But doesn’t it mean that the Philippine revolution and other uprisings around the world geared to overthrow colonialism were fueled by incompetence? Everything has been reduced to a question of competence, educational background, and etiquette. Perhaps next time those activists can bring a copy of their curriculum vitae before setting fire to a pile of chairs.

What their “education” apparently failed to impart to them is the ability to make distinctions. Constant exposure to ideological state apparatuses can, indeed, do that to a person. Violence, my dear lads, enables you to drink your morning coffee in peace and allow you to step out of the house without expecting anyone to hit you with a bat. It has only been ingeniously masked with the terms “security,” “punishment,” “law,” and “order.”

Hence, once the semantic muck has been cleared, one can always see state-instigated violence – what Max Weber in Politics as a Vocation calls “Gewaltmonopol des Staates” or the monopoly on violence. What makes us stop when the traffic light turns red is not etiquette. It is the knowledge of the violence that the state can inflict on us. After all, it has the whole armed forces, the police, and hired mercenaries, not to mention the horrors of Philippine jail management, at its employ. Law-abiding citizens are necessarily masochists, under constant exposure to different forms of legitimized violence.

Consequently, what results is a misrecognition and misunderstanding of violence. We never consider the state and its apparatuses such as the Board of Regents as perpetrators of violence. They are always the sources of order. While those lofty-minded liberals are quick to denounce violence, they fail to account that violence is very much present even in the minutiae of daily life, even in their haughty declaration that those “violent” hooligans who spray-painted Quezon Hall were uneducated and incompetent activists (which is actually a very poor example of what sociologist Pierre Bourdieu meant by symbolic violence since it can only be inflicted by those who possess symbolic capital).

Hence, everything else that do not fall within the ambit of such legitimized violence is plain and simple violence, such as the radical mass demonstrations in UP and PUP. It is, indeed, a matter of determining which is more violent: a graffiti on the wall, chairs thrown from balconies, or a student unable to enroll because of excessive fees, or a single teacher tasked to check 200 papers for the same measly salary because some person "soberly" decided that it is practical to increase class sizes.

Again, this misrecognition is simply a case of their inability to make distinctions. A closer inspection of the BOR protest would portend that the seemingly “violent” acts were actually carefully calculated. If those “scoundrels” wanted to do violence upon UPLB Chancellor Velasco (and I mean real violence) they would have thrown rocks, plants, and even the entire Oblation statue at him. When Malacañang-appointee Regent Abraham Sarmiento was blocked from entering Quezon Hall to attend the meeting, what prevented the students to hurt him and allow him to go away unharmed? Remember that Sarmiento was the Malacañang-appointee who was behind the whole PGH directorship fiasco and the whole issue on the eligibility of Student Regent Charisse Bañez.

The paintball hurling and the barricading were precise and surgical deployments of violence, enough only to bruise egos. They were symbolic acts intended to remind their targets of the students’ and faculty’s fury. They served to tell them, in the corporeal sense, that the students can touch them, that our discontent is thick enough to be cut by a knife, that there is no such thing as impunity and avoiding accountability. These are far from the mindless, destructive violence pervading the minds of haughty “educated” liberals.

Ironically, it is the same class of people who would recommend filing charges against the demonstrators. They are the same people who would seek harsh sanctions and penalties against those incompetent hooligans for “abusing their freedom of expression.”

Those squeamish, middle class, “educated” liberals? See, they are the first to call for blood.

UP photos by peter paredes

Sep. 20th, 2009


weekend bonding with my brothers, cousin & the twamkittens


  takipsilim & mato

calo & umaga

ice & nana


Aug. 21st, 2009

t reading


I know I haven’t posted much here.  I’m mostly occupied with work and taking care of three new members of our household. Our beloved younger sister twamki gave birth to 4 litters last June (the first born sadly didn’t survive). They’re almost three months old now.

here are some photos:

tanghali & takipsilim, 1 month old

takipsilim&umaga, 1month old









Jun. 10th, 2009


Parliament of the streets convenes today to denounce Con-Ass


I'm having a street birthday party today. historic.

News Release
June 10, 2009

It is on.

Thousands joined protests all over the country today to denounce moves to revise the Constitution via a Constituent Assembly without participation of the Senate.

“Today we convene the parliament of the streets so that the people can express in no unmistakable terms their vehement opposition to Arroyo’s charter change and Con-Ass maneuver. Today the ‘nays’ will ring loudly throughout the country. Let it be known that the people are united against moves to keep Arroyo in power,” said Bagong Alyansang Makabayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

Read more...Collapse )

“The Arroyo regime has done everything to deceive the people, downplay the protests and harass the participants through police ‘control points’. These measures show the desperation of the administration in covering up its accountability in this dastardly deed. The people are not stupid though. They know that cha-cha is a self-serving means to keep Gloria in power,” Reyes said.



May. 31st, 2009

t reading


11.59pm, hardin ng rosas

i've submitted an article for a refereed journal. whew!

hope it gets in. if not, i can always submit it to other journals.

i badly need to develop more self-esteem.


how are you?

Jan. 1st, 2009


(no subject)

Isang mapayapa at produktibong bagong taon sa lahat!

A peaceful and productive new year to all!


Vive bene, spesso l’amore, di risata molto.

Live well, love much, laugh often.


Nov. 8th, 2008



Our so-called bastion of academic freedom, the University of the Philippines, has recently denied the application for tenure of my college best friend, Sarah.

Here's her story: 

Friends and colleagues,

Last November 6, the chair of the Department of Sociology verbally informed Prof. Sarah Raymundo that the tenured faculty of the department decided to deny her application for tenure. Further, she was told to refrain from meeting her classes today, Friday, until further notice.

Nearly a year since her application for tenure, and after nine long years of outstanding academic work, Prof. Sarah is bound to get nothing for her hard work and dedication to the University. Not even any clear and written explanation of her non-tenure.

Indeed, this is shocking news.

What puzzles us most - her former students, friends and colleagues - is that Prof. Sarah has several published articles and researches to her name. She has been invited to speak and participate in several colloquia here and abroad. Her work as a scholar and educator actualizes both academic excellence and social responsibility - core missions of the University that is regarded as the premiere state university.

To her students, Ma'am Sarah is one of the most engaging professors in the department, if not the only one. And proof to this is the number of students asserting their right to learn under her classroom even until this very moment when news of her unjust dismissal has spread all over the campus.

At the very least, the message conveyed by the chair of the Department of Sociology is tantamount to Prof. Sarah’s outright suspension or dismissal by the University, a decision normally imposed on members of the faculty who are being penalized for any violation of university policies. Worst, this can be the start of a crackdown directed toward progressive faculty and academic union members.

Thus this case is not only about Prof. Sarah’s solo fight for survival in the University. We are called to challenge the lack of transparency in the tenure process. We are called to expose and resist all attacks to our democratic rights being orchestrated by the powers that be.

Let us monitor further updates, and hope to get a statement from Prof. Sarah soon. Colleagues from universities abroad have expressed solidarity to this campaign and vowed to support the call for Prof. Sarah’s immediate reinstatement.



source: http://www.facebook.com/inbox/?ref=mb#/group.php?gid=51137155912

Oct. 20th, 2008

t & m

my funny brown pinay

my best friend charlie sent me this link. if you can spare 7 minutes of your time, please watch/listen to this video.

it's pinay jazz at its finest.

love it!

Oct. 15th, 2008

twam & shup

hope to share some stories about them in the future.


thesis defense

it's over!!!


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