Category Archives: Israel

Mandatory ROTC? Not so fast…

Photo Courtesy: Win Gatchalian via Official Website

I do agree with ROTC, yet with reservations

Prof. Antonio Contreras’s thoughts on bringing back Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) as a mandatory course:

Indeed. Mandatory ROTC is a waste of time and resources.

Make it optional and with benefits. Meanwhile, strengthen civics and citizenship awareness among students. Require all students to take a course similar to what we have in DLSU on Citizenship and Governance. Also require a course on understanding the culture and language of other Filipinos. In fact, even as we encourage students to study foreign languages, it should be made a requirement that students know another Filipino language aside from Tagalog and their mother tongue.

Also, require all students to take martial arts courses, sex education, anti- addiction of all kinds and driving courses (so that they know traffic rules).

Ergo, his thoughts are pretty much practical.

The prudes (the Loyalists, as usual) would completely AGREE with mandatory ROTC, since for them, it instills discipline and patriotism blah blah… but I don’t actually agree. In fact, ROTC, like Martial Law, could be kind or unkind to you. Well, in order for you to be oriented in ROTC, you should undergo CAT (Citizen Advancement Training), to have a grasp on how ROTC works.

ROTC is not bad–however, consider the following factors: Be considerate to people who have experienced its dark side–hazing, powertripping, being treated by crap by power-tripping officers, etc., those things have to be placed in debate before implementation. And please, don’t get me started with countries such as Israel, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, or even Switzerland–the reason why they have mandatory conscription is because, they can AFFORD to invest for funds and resources to implement this form of learning to express love your country unconditionally, aside from the fact that it has political and foreign policy-related situations such as political conflicts regarding ideology (South vs. North Korea), or even religious involvement (Israel vs. most Gulf countries supporting Palestine), sovereignty issues (Taiwan being still the Republic of China), national policy (Singapore), and lastly, neutrality in both local and foreign policy (Switzerland).

Well, could the Philippines afford it? Let’s see.

Before approving ROTC, let us be considerate to some grey areas

The reason why it was abolished in 2001 is simply because of the hazing controversies and sort of “dark sides” it had (#NeverForget Mark Chua, a Thomasian who was killed because he exposed the alleged corruptions inside his unit). However, because we’re in a strategic location, I think this is the time it could be conducive for its comeback. Remember, the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal are both Philippine territory (I repeat, they both are Philippine territories, lest we not forget).

If the prudes want ROTC back (well, because they really despise the leftists–read your history regarding the Cold War, and how communism played a BIG yet controversial role in that period of history), then they must condemn the corruptions inside ROTC. Also, never forget Jeff Cudia who only sacrificed himself, exposing the corruption inside the Philippine Military Academy (PMA)–that “offense for being late” causing his demerits were PURE damage control. This resulted to fewer and fewer graduates of the most prestigious military academy in the Philippines.

#NeverForget the fallen Mark Welson Chua

He was pretty much like the slain Marcos critic from Mapua, Archimedes Trajano, and of course, the late journalist Louie Beltran. Truth is–

One aspect of the story however seems to have been forgotten – that Mark would not have wanted mandatory ROTC abolished.

In 2006, the older Chua told the Varsitarian that if Mark were alive, he would not have supported the policy shift.

“Mark did not want to abolish the ROTC,” said Welson, two years before his death following a heart attack. “It’s not the institution, it’s the way it’s being run.”

Instead of eradicating the anomalies, Welson said, the move might have encouraged more corruption in the two new programs launched by the government under NSTP.

“Instead of one ROTC, now the government and the universities would have two other departments to look after,” Welson said. “These departments can be corrupt too.”

Source: The Varsitarian (retrieved 09 February 2017)

Well, to be honest, Mark Chua only wanted to improve and strengthen ROTC–and how its managed. No wonder, I would like to reveal the irregularities and of course, the loopholes when you are in a CAT/ROTC program–but first, lemme tell you that I did not take up ROTC for personal reasons–as much as I wanted to (well, masaya kasi–and no kidding, it really teaches you self-confidence), I only considered my experience in CAT.

Here were the irregularities and loopholes I encountered in my high school’s version of CAT:

1.) Frankly speaking, the CAT Officers were only used as mere “tools” to protect the school’s vested interests (no offense meant to the officers, but you get my point. I ain’t sourgraping).

2.) Usual scenario: Power-tripping.

3.) Speaking of recruiting and hiring officers, there’s cronyism and nepotism all the way.

4.) Even best cadets are chosen based on cronyism and nepotism–don’t EVER get me wrong here.

5.) The officers were only used as mere tools to continue elitism, corruption, and huge amounts of hypocrisy inside the school.

Maybe these were the things that Mark Chua exposed. Alright, I know this is a sensitive and a critical topic to discuss, however, these were my true observations. I have to admit and open this up, I voluntarily trained to become a CAT Officer, but I stopped–because lately, I realized that I was right in quitting, because simply put, it would be against my principles that I’m upholding today. Only a handful of officers upheld their principles as student leaders up to this very day.

To be honest, this is the harsh reality of the ROTC in the Philippines–starting from CAT:

“In the ph, unfortunately, it is a hotbed for bullying and hazing. It goes with the crab culture. a lot of students choose to become officers not because they want to serve the country, but think of it as a method of attaining some sort of power over others.” — on ROTC, via GRP

Thank goodness, the popular kids and the elitists MUST be grateful that I quit my CAT Officer training, and the mere fact that I chose CWTS instead of ROTC–if I become a CAT or ROTC officer, then they must prepare for me as their boss. I might be power-tripping them.

But nah, I believe that power-tripping is a sign of being unprofessional.

Well, these are my only thoughts about the comeback of mandatory ROTC. One simple hotseat controversy only caused the Philippines to abolish mandatory ROTC–which might be against the victim who exposed the loopholes of ROTC. Lest we not forget, improvements and strengthening of ROTC must push through–if we’re only to follow Mark Chua’s legacy.

Israel: The Holy Land in conflict with Gaza|Not even the children are spared from the bloodshed

So what’s new about Israel and its non-stop conflict with Gaza, Palestine and other Middle Eastern countries?

Truth is, I really feel very sad whenever I hear news about Israel being bombed and damaged by its enemies. I was wondering why there’s violence in this so-called “Holy Land,” if one time there was a suicide bomber on the loose way back then?

No wonder it’s not really a good place to live in, unless you’re a Jew, you’ll think that it is YOUR “home,” but not for many.

In its current conflict with Gaza (no wonder, Israel really has a lot of political foes to deal with), death toll is dramatically on the rise, and take note that NOT even innocent children are spared. What now for Israel’s future as one of the most educated countries if everything would be like this?

No wonder some Israeli celebrities (Natalie Portman, Bar Refaeli and Shirly Brener) choose to live in the US because of political conflicts happening in their native land.

How would you feel if there’s always turmoil in your country?

Ever since, Israel never had a good conversation with Gaza and Palestine (correct me of one of these places are not in good terms, but not necessarily an enemy). This also happens with most of its Middle Eastern neighbors (Iran and Saudi Arabia are two of Israel’s worst “enemies”), so no wonder, kawawa ka if you’re an Israeli national — you cannot freely travel to the rest of the Middle East because most of these countries believe that Israel should never exist at all. If you’re talking about Israeli stamps, places like Iraq and the UAE will still accept you, but NOT for Iran and Saudi Arabia. Seriously, why HATE Israel if it brought Christianity to life (remember, the Holy Bible is very Israeli in terms of ancient culture)? I really do understand that the rest of the Middle Eastern countries are Muslim, but they should never hate the Jews — the Jews came first, long before Mohammed founded Islam, so why HATE?

It’s a good thing that Israel and Germany are good friends in terms of diplomacy — and not only Deutschland, the United States supports the Holy Land as well. This also happens when you talk about Philippine-Japan relations. The Philippines and Japan used to be wartime enemies, but it’s a good thing that the Filipinos are very forgiving; one thing that is not discussed in social studies class is that, the Philippines is Japan’s number one raw material exporter.

International Bullying and Overrating

Today, there are MANY international bullies in the world, and it’s not only the US and China (they’re definitely the two most overrated countries in terms of hegemonic contest) that are perceived as “bullies.” In fact, there are some more to consider when talking about hegemony — China has a LONG way to go on its way to become a hegemon; like what I said before, it fears US in terms of economic trade. Usually, China will only improve its products when the US is starting to ask for it (no wonder offshored companies still retain that quality).

I really do believe that Israel is a bullying victim from most of its Middle Eastern neighbors — granted, it is one of the most developed countries in the world with its patriotic people, however, turmoil and conflict won’t even place it at the top of the World’s Most Peaceful… well we do not know about that.

Israel, The Holocaust in DLSU Manila

Do you know that Philippine passport holders could actually travel to Israel without any visa? That’s because the Philippines is the only country that accepted Jewish refugees within the World War II period. This is the gift that Israel gave to the Philippines… well, in my point of view.

Side Note: To Aziz Natour, I think your country’s awesome! No joke about it.

Israel: The Holy Land

Photo by me|Mr. Yaniv Revach, the guest speaker (side note: Moritz Bleibtreu’s look-alike!).

Israel is a very rich country, and most of the technology is all thanks to Israelis.

Truth is, Israel is a very young nation, compared to other well-known countries is probably because the Jews were widespread, just before the state of Israel was established after the disastrous, traumatic World War II. It’s only the Philippines that is the only country that voted for the establishment of the state of Israel.

History of Israel prior to its independence

Israel is a country of immigrant Jews who came from all over the world, from across Asia to Europe, and from Europe to Africa, then to the Americas. During the first fifteen years after the establishment of the state of Israel, it refused to start diplomatic ties with Germany due to the traumatic Holocaust (the burning of the Jews via concentration camps, gas chambers and cremation). However, if you want to move on, according to Mr. Revach, you have to move on. Today, Germany is one of Israel’s closest and strongest allies.

Immigration has been helpful to Israel… well, what I mean is, immigration from Israel to other countries simply because of learning new things from other cultures, and it turns out; when the ethnic Jews came back to Israel (Law of Return, I think), they started to share their learning experience from other countries and not only that; they created their own technologies such as warfare weapons and useful devices. Israel is therefore, a melting pot of different races, be it black, white or Semitic.

Today, Israel’s one of the richest countries in the world, and Tel-Aviv is the gay capital. It is also somehow the sister city of Makati.

The Holocaust

The Holocaust is one of the most tremendous extreme ways of racism in history. It’s like ethnic cleansing of the “Aryan” race. The Jews were humiliated and exhausted by the Nazi government is because they’re the ones controlling and ruling the businesses in Germany which Hitler believed that it would put the German economy down. Well, this is according to what I heard before. Why eliminate all the Jews in Germany during Hitler’s time? Let’s say that Hitler is a charismatic leader, but he pushed his own limits, like killing all the Jews because they put the “Aryan” race down. He doesn’t spare anyone, not even the Slavs, the homosexuals and the disabled. He thinks that the “perfect” race should exist.

Remembering the Diary of Anne Frank, it is one of the most remarkable literary works wherein the horrors of the war were discussed. I haven’t read the book yet but somehow, it’s like something worth to read if you want to know the history of Germany during the Third Reich.

People in the concentration camps were actually tattooed with numbers on their forearms, and guess what? Prisoners couldn’t use their names. What they did is to call someone by their number, and use “Israel” if that’s a man, and “Sarah” if it’s a girl. Sounds creepy and disturbing, eh?|This is one example of a tattooed number on a former concentration camp prisoner.

Anne Frank is not an exemption. She was also tattooed with a number on her arm, when she was a prisoner in a concentration camp, and just so you know, she died there of sickness. Just imagine yourself being a victim of the extreme-right wing dictatorship of Hitler, you are a “dalit” if you’re a Jew. Well, Hitler may not be a Hindu, but taking a look at his leadership style, he had his own caste system. Take note: Caste system.

Modern-day Israel and its influence towards the world

Like what I said, Israel is a country of immigrant Jews. Right now, it has a very friendly diplomatic ties with the Philippines, and the synagogue in the Philippines is located in Makati. Also, Germany is one of Israel’s strongest allies. This is synonymous to Japan-Philippines relations today.

In Israel, there are a number of famous people, like for instance, model Bar Refaeli (Hebrew: בר רפאלי). Another example of a celebrity is no other than Hollywood-famous Natalie Portman (bad thing her photo wasn’t displayed on the PowerPoint! HAHA!). Lastly, my favorite Israeli-American celebrity — Shirly Brener (Hebrew: שירלי ברנר). Although not as famous as Natalie Portman, Shirly is a multi-tasking Hollywood actress. She is well known not only for her acting skills, but she’s also an athlete, a mother, a wife, everything. Shirly is one of the Israeli-born people who was raised multi-culturally in the UK and the US, where she currently resides.

Fun facts

Most Israelis speak English. No wonder, even French-Israeli actor Yvan Attal spoke English in Rush Hour 3!

Of course, most Christians learn Israel. It’s because it is the homeland of Jesus Christ. Hebrew was the sacred language, and during the time of Jesus, it is equivalent to Sanskrit (no, not even Jesus used Hebrew, and it’s like the language of religion during His time). When the state of Israel was established after the WWII, Hebrew (or Ivrit) became the national language.

The Yiddish language is a Germanic language that uses the Hebrew alphabet, and native speakers are usually overseas Jews.

Likewise, the Hebrew language is actually Semitic. Its alphabet is in abjad form, and normally, abjads are only consonants, no vowels, unless it’s placed with an accent mark or dot, which represents vowels. Usually, Semitic languages are written from right to left.