The sexualization of children

I distinctly remember being horrified sometime in 1979 by a European sex magazine which featured nude children in suggestive positions on its cover.  It was the first time I had seen pedophilia presented as other than a form of sickness. Today this sexual predisposition seems to be taken merely as an expression of a taste, … Read more

Immigrants from the past

Next to his family, the only other possessions that Eddie Tiongson could think of saving from the rampaging lahar that buried his house and restaurant in 1995 were the family photos.   Not the cars, not their clothes, nor the jewelry – but only the albums.  “You can always buy the other things,” he said,  “but … Read more

Taxing the Church

The phrase “taxing the Church”, by which Senator Gregorio Honasan’s recent proposal has entered public discourse, is so emotionally-laden that I doubt very much whether – under its auspices — we can get any real discussion going on this issue. Most people will argue that the Church is doing a good job; why penalize it?  … Read more

Contingencies of a weekend

My 74-year-old mother went to the hospital last week complaining of severe stomach cramps.  As a diabetic, she had been piously watching her diet, because more than anything else, she was afraid of hospitals.  In truth, she dreaded hospital bills more than her illness. When told that her doctors were out, she insisted on being … Read more

Initiation to public life

I marked my 10th year on TV last week.  Purely by coincidence, GMAChannel 7, my new home, called a press conference to launch my program.  I have never been the subject of a presscon.  I like asking questions, but I do not relish answering them, particularly those that border on the personal.  But there I … Read more

The contradictions of Apec

The Apec summit in Subic brings together the heads of 18 AsiaPacific states, except those of Hong Kong, which is represented by its finance minister, and Taiwan, by one of its top businessmen.  Yet, Apec insists that it is a club of economies and not of governments. Therefore its agenda excludes politics.  Its concerns are … Read more

Globalization: do we have a choice?

Globalization is a process we cannot avoid.  But globalism, a doctrine that presumes that everything global is superior or beneficial, is something we can and must shun.  This useful distinction was proposed by the writer Peter Waterman, whom Ed de la Torre cites in a recent column. I think that if we keep this distinction … Read more

Who’s afraid of globalization?

I first traveled abroad in 1969.   My wife and I were on our way to England for graduate studies.  At the old Manila International Airport, we were made to declare how much money we had with us, and to account for every dollar and traveler’s check we were bringing out of the country.   The whole … Read more

Sachsenhausen’s violence and Perlman’s violin

BERLIN.    Sunday mornings, like everywhere else, are slow days in Berlin.  The city that stayed up all Saturday till four in the morning is just beginning to stir.  But my guide is punctual as usual.  And so at eight in the morning of an overcast Sunday,  we make our way to the outskirts of this … Read more

Germany: nationhood as burden

BERLIN.   Filipinos and Germans are a study in contrast.  The Germans are trying to forget that they are a nation; we are trying to remember that we are.  Events — like the collapse of communism — conspire to remind them of their national identity.  Migration, the hope of many Filipinos, devalues nationality. “I am a … Read more