A retired American banking executive is married to a Filipina and now calls our country home. He maintains a blog (http://thesocietyofhonor.blogspot.com) and uses a penname in his articles — Joe America. One of his articles recently went viral on social media. It was titled: “The Society of Honor by Joe America: President Aquino: Like a beat up old car.”
Unlike many on social media who utilize pennames in order to conceal their true identities for fear of reprisal from people whom they have maligned on the Internet — or were paid to malign on the Internet — Joe America had a valid reason for using a penname. Joe wrote: “What are the obligations and rights of a non-citizen living in the Philippines? The rights are flimsier than for a citizen, for the citizen has a pack of laws behind him, as defined in the Constitution. The non-citizen can be shipped out at the whim of someone in power who finds his thinking disagreeable. His presence can be terminated without defense.”
Joe gives us a glimpse of what he’s trying to accomplish: “Sometimes I don’t even agree with what I write, but being provocative is the antidote to being complacent. Stirring the stew ensures the flavors mix.” He added: “Bottom line, I am very interested in the well-being of the Philippine community. Many, reading my perspectives, will assume otherwise, but that is their limitation, not mine.”
Joe admits that his blog was primarily meant to answer those armchair generals from the US and Australia who have been writing baseless misimpressions about our country. As much of what these armchair generals in the US and Australia will read online are our scandal-showbiz-conflict-addicted media reports — they’ll likely reach the wrong conclusions about the true state of our country. Filipinos would do well to read what Joe has to say because it’s beneficial to read an outsider’s perspective. Being too close to the trees could make us lose sight of the forest.
Joe obviously loved the Philippines and its people to have opted to permanently reside here with his Filipino wife and “culturally ambidextrous” son, in Joe’s own words. It’s evident that Joe has had the benefit of a good education and can dissect our local issues. Joe knows us, warts and all, and is in a good position to remind us of blessings that we may be overlooking or implanted self-destruct mechanisms that we know not of.
Joe had some very interesting things to say about President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) in his April 18 article titled: “President Aquino: Like a beat up old car.” The article was a very favorable assessment of a president whom Joe claims operates like his beat up old Honda Civic but diligently gets the job done.
Joe wrote: “Here is a guy who had no plans to be president. He was, and remains, a soft guy. Not dynamic and outgoing. An introvert. The son who grew up to be passive. Unmarried. Just minding his business and keeping the family name in the Senate. Then, in six short months, he was thrown into the highest and most difficult job in the land by the passions of a people who longed for the goodness of his Mom.”
He continued: “Now he has been in office a couple of years and the cushy armchair quarterbacks, angry that their guy got defeated by an adored dead woman, STILL are complaining that President Aquino is not Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR and JFK rolled into one, with a little Jesus Christ sprinkled on for spice.”
“Well, you know what, I like my President the way he is. With character…Like a real person, you know? Not some plastic dummy like Mitt Romney who is forever posturing like a robotic mannequin whose batteries are over-juiced…No, President Aquino is real. Like me. Like you.” Joe wrote.
Joe was spot on: “The thing is, he is doing so much RIGHT. It just gets buried in the media obsession about conflict and confrontation.” My God! Joe must be a Chair Wrecker reader.
Joe explained: “He (P-Noy) has visited all the key Asian neighbors to open up lines of communication. He has achieved a firm balance with China, neither rolling over nor being belligerent, and always with an eye toward the greater value of robust trade between the two countries. The relationship with the US is in balance. Mutually beneficial. Copasetic, man, copasetic. He has stabilized the finances of the nation and attracted a lot more investors to the Philippines. The Philippine stock market is roaring, the peso is stronger than it has been in years.”
Joe scores another point: “I laugh when people cast the presidents of the US and Philippines as responsible for the prices they pay at the gas pump. These are people who believe the pillow they smash against the wall in anger is responsible for their problems. No. The pillow just happened to be at hand. Just like the President.”
Joe notices: “Here are some intractable problems. The solution will require many administrations. Electricity. Water. Congestion. Global warming. Corruption. Education. Gas is a commodity, in short supply; it is not infrastructure. You ought to pay what the market demands, not some subsidized, regulated price that warps the true economic value of the stinky useful stuff.”
“Gloria Arroyo did not do enough. She was too busy chasing President Obama for photo-ops, and arranging favors like Chief Justice appointments, plotting to re-write a perfectly good Constitution, making sure her face was plastered on a million road-construction signs across the country, handing out bags of cash to legislators, and (allegedly) scheming with her husband for kickbacks and rigging of elections.” Joe wrote.
Joe added: “I want him (P-Noy) to succeed…Let me tell you, the Philippines looks better than it has in a long long long long time, and no malcontent in Florida or Australia is going to tell me the picture is not worth buying, or investing in.”
How come an American like Joe could appreciate the jewels that we have — quite the opposite of our local media that seem able only to see the wee warts and pimples?
Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must never unwatched go.”
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