Luis V. Teodoro | Name that Country

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This is a quick current events quiz, much like the one your high school history teacher used to give at the start of every class session, but with a difference — it’s more like a geography quiz because you have to name the country where what’s described in each section happened or is currently happening.

LOW BLOW. When one of its own was caught plagiarizing the work of foreign legal scholars, the so-called highest court of this country showed that nothing is so high it can’t stoop too low. It quickly exonerated the plagiarist by arguing that it was the justice’s researcher who made an honest mistake, was anyway moved by the best of intentions, and that, in any case, there was no malice involved.

In a strange though no longer surprising case of intellectual acrobatics, while the sources the justice didn’t cite were actually arguing in favor of the petitioners in the case the justice had decided, they were used to argue for the opposite. With the justice totally exposed, the court then turned around and threatened with still unspecified sanctions the faculty of the country’s leading law school — a state institution whose academic freedom and right to free expression are protected by the Constitution — for their exposure and criticism of the plagiarism.

College freshmen have been expelled for committing even the mildest versions of this kind of dishonesty. Name the country where the court that’s supposed to protect citizen rights and the Constitution is doing the opposite. Ten bonus points if you can identify the school the justice and his researcher are graduates of.

TWEETERING TWIT. Apparently ignorant of both protocol as well as what the social, networking and micro blogging service Twitter is all about and how many people it reaches, a graduate of tourism from this country thought she was being the world-weary sophisticate when she said in her Twitter account that the wine served during a dinner by host country Vietnam for her country’s visiting President “sucks.”

She also threw in the observation that it was so easy to get killed in the streets of Hanoi because it was filled with motorcycles. Apparently this miscommunicating miscreant doesn’t get out much, the streets of her own country’s capital being the scene of daily mayhem and carnage because of the cheap motorcycles rampaging in them, whose riders think traffic lights are no more than year-long Christmas decorations. (The wine this country serves during state visits also sucks, by the way, but no one so far has had the indecency to say so via Twitter, Facebook or any other social networking cite.)

Name the country where this twit holds the rank of assistant secretary of communications. Five bonus points if you can name the school from where she graduated with, of all things, a BA Tourism degree, cum laude.

MISCOMMUNICATION DEPARTMENT. The communications group of the current government of this country is probably the most misnamed government entity in its history, miscommunication, miscues, and mistakes being its strongest suit. Reorganized from the Office of the Press Secretary with two Cabinet-level secretaries who hold titles so pompously convoluted no one can remember them, over a scant three-month period, this group, among others:

1. Denied a respected, online alternative news site accreditation without saying why, but probably because it was critical of the President.

2. Failed to cue its boss on the need to respond to the urgent call by the Hong Kong administrator during a hostage-taking crisis involving HK nationals.

3. Could not communicate with the President of the country when he left for abroad because “he left his cell phone at home.”

4. Has several times demonstrated how faction-riven it is, its leading personas so committed to keeping alive their conflicts during the May 2010 elections, they don’t even talk to each other.

Name the country where this miscommunication group somehow still manages to exist.

FRIENDS OF FRIENDS. The President of this country can’t fire anyone he’s appointed to some of the highest posts in government because they’re either his friends, his shooting range buddies, former officials of his Mommy, were recommended by his sisters, or are the girl friends of the friends of his friends. Instead he lets them get away with public boasts that they’re indispensable, as well as with statements and acts that, if they haven’t yet undermined his country’s relations with other countries, are at the very least making his government the laughingstock of the world.

For example, when the negligence and sheer incompetence of the friends he had appointed resulted in the killing of eight foreign nationals during a hostage-taking crisis, he formed a high-level investigating committee, ignored its findings that his friends were responsible, and instead had the committee findings reviewed by — you guessed it — two other friends.

But this President can also be harsh when he wants to be — but only to non-friends. He fired his country’s weather agency chief for failing to predict within a millimeter the path of a typhoon, and keeps boasting about it every chance he gets, even as the current head of the same agency changes his predictions of typhoon paths by the minute, in stark demonstration that weather disturbances have minds of their own, unlike some Cabinet officials.

He also had the harshest words for the media, describing the behavior of two journalists covering the hostage-taking situation as not only irresponsible, but also “bordering on the criminal,” and threatened to get his cohort in the House of Representatives to pass laws that will prevent such behavior in the future, while excusing the more than criminal behavior of his friends.

Name the country where this lemon is President.

If you didn’t get the answers right, you must have been living in a cave, or partying all night.

If you got them all, and you’re a foreigner, living in another country is your reward. If you’re a Filipino, shame on you, either way. (

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