Essence of Shame III

Self heard a bit of news last week, but such was the state of her brain that she couldn’t really react until today. And finally today, after weeks and weeks of interesting conversation with Nena the maid, she finally got hold of Dearest Mum herself (live). And then self asked her who she thinks will win the Philippine presidential elections, coming up May 10, and Dearest Mum said she hopes Noynoy (son of Immortal Cory), but it doesn’t look like things are going his way.


Well, Noynoy may not be the sharpest tool in the deck, but we really need an honest politician to lead the country, and so far he appears to be the least tainted, and, and —

Self finally asked Dearest Mum what the latest was on the Ampatuan massacre, and Dearest Mum almost shrieks: “The judge acquitted the two!”

What? So, it’s true, what self heard: that the chief perpetrator and his son were let go, putatively for “lack of evidence.” So the only ones still in custody are the henchmen.

Is this — is this possible? Is self dreaming? Didn’t 17 journalists end up being buried in a ditch? Along with the wife and child of the opposition candidate? Where is the outrage? Where are the protests from Amnesty International? From International PEN? Can a man over there in Maguindanao really go free after killing 17 journalists (and scores of other innocents, self might add)??? Writers, where is the outrage? For journalists are writers, too!

One thing that came up during the USF Panel on Asian American Women Writers (which self is still digesting; she promises to blog about it soon) was a question from a man in the audience about why Filipino Americans don’t seem to care about what’s happening back home.

Whaaat? Self cares! She cares very very much! Only she gets so upset when she hears, for example, that ex-Mayor of Calauaun, who was supposed to be serving seven consecutive life sentences, was purportedly “pardoned” and released.

And when she hears news of people like Ampatuan and his son being released for “lack of evidence.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.


  1. April 27, 2010 at 4:38 am

    On Ampatuan, Marianne, yes, horrible travesty of justice… It’s prompted a Manila-based poet named Joel Salud to launch a call for 100 poems of protest from 100 Filipino poets (wherever they are). Check out my blog today.

  2. April 27, 2010 at 4:48 am


    I saw your post. I’m glad there are people speaking out.

    It truly breaks my heart because — how much do Filipino journalists MAKE? Really, to be a Filipino journalist, and covering such a campaign, so far from Manila yet, you hope they were getting per diems but probably not. So, they were just doing their best, on very little pay — you know? It really breaks my heart.

  3. April 27, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    And the photos, Marianne. They are so hard to look at. They made me cry.

  4. April 27, 2010 at 5:03 pm


    I have deliberately avoided looking at the photos because, with my brain over-stimulated as it is (Don’t worry: I’m not crazy, just writing), I may not be able to sleep for months.

    At the I-Hotel reading last weekend, there was a poster drawn by some Filipino artist (I’ll look up his name in a minute) on the Ampatuan massacre. The posters lined the walls of the room. My niece had not heard of the massacre but her friend, who is a senior at Stanford, had. He had! And this is a guy with no connection to the Philippines (other than my niece). I explained to my niece what the massacre was all about. I found it so hard to talk of that huge ditch that they dug to bury the cars and the bodies —

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