The books I read in 2018

1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Utopian vision of society but eerily familiar to those who are living in the 21st century. 2. Utos ng Hari by Jun Cruz Reyes. Stories of the everyman in the urban, survival as resistance, the common tao and his struggles against alienation. 3. Pulang Mandirigma: Images of the…

Fact or fiction: Lawbreakers, professional rallyists, blind followers and other labels about activists

Vow of poverty. Activists are encouraged to live simply, but unlike priests, they don’t have a vow of poverty. They don’t fetishize poverty; instead, they work with the poor to fight the structures that engender oppression in society. Indeed, activists renounce material riches and the glorification of wealth but it doesn’t mean they can no…

On becoming a full-time activist

Beyond the instagrammable image of a fierce-looking activist with a clenched fist is someone rationalizing and constantly reaffirming his fidelity to radical politics. Activists are stereotyped as dogmatic simpletons who derive a perverse pleasure in organizing rallies. While it is true that public participation in a collective exercise is indeed a thrilling experience, especially if…

Tokhang, trolls and Arroyo generals

The UP Third World Studies Center organized a research workshop on ‘Violence, Human Rights and Democracy in the Philippines.’ I submitted a short essay in response to the workshop question: “Based on your knowledge of and experience in your locality, do you think that the Duterte administration is violent?” President Rodrigo Duterte has been a…

The books I read in 2017

1. Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro. Impossible not to empathize with her strong female characters, their pursuit of fulfillment and freedom, their overcoming of various tragedies and other challenges in life. 2. How to Travel with a Salmon and Other Essays, Umberto Eco. The best parts are the funny observations of the scholar-traveler about American…