The Philippines

The Philippines


Our last port visit prior to retrograding (pending contingency requirements) was the Subic Bay area.  It used to be a U. S. Naval Base until we turned it over to the Philippine government in 1992. 


I got off the ship and wandered around.  Bore witness to the poverty and decay.  I’ve seen it before though.  This type of poverty doesn’t only exist in foreign countries but also in the States. The way I see it this type of situation is almost certainly rooted in greed.


Human beings hold themselves up to false standards, think they should have more, and then loose track of what is important.  Then they loose everything.  This might be most pronounced and easy to see with a gambler.  Even when they win they have lost.


This post doesn’t want to be written.  I’ll stop.




Sean said...

I think that greed sounds a lot more plausible than blaming the poor folks for their own poverty.

I'd like to think that education can help, in some regards, in poor climates, though I don't suppose it would be so much, without some resource management, too - and resources to be managed, in the first place. Of course, there's probably no magic recipe for success, anywhere so broad.

Myself, I came from a poor family - so it seems, in retrospect. I guess we were supposed to be in the middle class or something -- whereas, the Federal Student Aid folks apparently thought my 'Pa could pay for college - such that totally didn't happen. Not as if they owed me anything, college just didn't happen for me, in any appreciable way, after I graduated high school. I guess that must be pretty rare, or something?

Not only on the poor/prosperous edge, I think there is some extent to which something like "class warfare" only further marginalizes people already feeling marginalized. I believe that that would - in turn - serve to depress the economy, in those areas affected with it. Myself, I don't believe that such a result would be necessarily intentional, but I cannot either write it off as if it was but an "unfortunate" result of class-politics, either -- whereas, I don't believe that class-politics are necessarily legitimate.

I guess it's not just "drama", either, all of that, though I might like to wrap it up, rhetorically - lately - as it being so.

SlowZen said...

There were fishermen on the other side of the island, who appeared to live happy and contented lives. The folks lived in bamboo huts with no electricity or running water. But they were pretty cool.

On the SBMA side, everyone was trying to get you to buy something from them or for them. And they seemed miserable and resentful.

Anonymous said...

Jordan -

I have heard it said that the most impoverished people can be the richest in spirit, barring, or maybe because of, the outright suffering they endure. This is a bit of an aphorism, but aphorisms exist because they contain a kernel of truth. Along the same lines, a Buddhist practitioner once said “Losing is satori. Winning is illusion.” It is in poverty that what’s important becomes most apparent. Not all of the poor see this but, hopefully, if we are Buddhist practitioners we see this. What’s important? Our ‘true self’. Our practice, the Buddha-dharma. Sangha, including family, friends – ultimately everybody and no one in particular. This is what cannot be lost. It is always right here. I’m sure you already know this.

You sound a bit under the weather. Understandably so, I imagine. You probably could benefit from a retreat or, barring that, more extensive zazen when you get the chance. I hope you feel better soon.

Gratitude for your continuing efforts...

P.S. Today is the Vernal Equinox, don’t slide off the Earth!

oxeye said...

Jordan, Very interesting.. The Philippines have had their share of troubles. Lots of outside influence and everything good and bad that comes with that.

What you saw shows that Heaven and Hell, sometimes seemingly very far apart, is in reality only thinly separated by how it's thought about.

SlowZen said...

Anon Saturday, March 20, 2010 5:36:00 AM,

You captured what was on my mind pretty well. And expressed it nicely too.


Jeff, Yes indeed! Your comment reminds me of the story of a samurai who visits a monk demanding to know if there is a heaven or hell.

The monk refuses to say and the samurai threatens to cut off his head.
The monk still refuses and angrily draws his sword, the monk says AH! And there opens the path to hell!
The samurai gets the point, relaxes and sheaths his sword, and the monk says coolly, and there is the road to heaven.

From where I sit, it appears most people are not present enough to stop.

Dorothy Rimson said...

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