Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dear Mr. Sungit

You've been a strange presence in our class in Kas 226. The first person who took notice of you - and named you 'Mr. Sungit' - was Regina. A few more meetings allowed for a closer scrutiny of your behavior (hindi maiiwasan, since you're sitting right across me and Regina), and gave me reason to believe that your monicker was well-deserved.

You had this air of "what the f*ck am I doing in this class?" about you. You never participate in discussions, and while our prof lectures you often stare straight up, seemingly concentrating on a single spot on the ceiling.

This is a democratic society after all. And UP na nga 'to, kung saan lahat na ng ka-weirduhan and idiosyncracies pinapabayaan lang. And wala naman akong right to ridicule you or ostracize you for your behavior. Hindi naman kita ka anu-ano...


You gave your reaction to the documentary we viewed during our class. My first reaction was "Aba, nagsalita ka!". Your comment gave rise to a lengthy discussion about the discourse on power, imperialism, and US expansionism. Here are just a few things I want to add to our discourse (given the lack of time and also, baka na-away na kita if we were to continue hehe).

First, bilib ako sa 'yo. You were the only one in the class who called attention to that perspective. In fairness, napa-isip mo kami ng malalim, and I believe that the ensuing discussion gave a much deeper look into what indeed is "imperialism" in the context of the actions of the American nation throughout its history.

You were right to say that if we look at imperialism along the lines of territorial expansion, then it would be faulty to say that it was in 1898 was the turning point in US history in which the Americans decided to engage in "imperialistic" ventures. I also agree with you on your point regarding the American Indians, who should be considered as the first victims of American "expansion".

Second, it would be a bit of a long stretch if we were to take your perspective and adapt it into our over-all discourse. Remember that our course is "AMERICAN policies in Asia" so don't decry that what we're reading and discussing conforms mostly to the American perspective. American nga ang perspective, but I do believe that so far the discussions among us are well-balanced. Wala naman sa atin ang nagwawagayway ng bandila ng Estados Unidos, na nagsasabing sa pangkalahatan, maganda ang imperyalismo at ekspansyonismo ng Amerika. I think that we have pointed out the good points and the bad points of US policy, and we have even teased out some of the underlying notions and perspectives that gave rise to such policies and actions. We can consider the other perspective, expecially the Filipino point of view, from time to time pero stick tayo sa syllabus pare pwede?...hehe

Third, and I really have to say this, I feel offended by some of your statements. Baka hindi ka aware pero may mga pasaring ka na medyo nakaka-insulto. Statements like "we have to think critically about this.." or "Let's be more imaginative", etc. It's not the words eh, it's how you said it and given that your Mr. Sungit, nagmukha ka nang asshole. Ibig mong sabihin hindi na kami nag-iisip ng malalim? na wala kaming imagination?

Ang hirap sa orientation ninyo is that you stick to your structuralist views eh. That's why I pointed out that the "American Imperialist Project" is not a monolith, that there were, and still are, forces of resistance to the imperialist impetus. I am not too convinced by your thesis that American society is built upon a structure of expansion and imperialism - ergo, exploitation (?). That's why I asked if based on your thesis the US will remain imperialist forever? That the US was, is , and forever will be, imperialist? Wala nang pag-asa for a change in outlook and viewpoint ang mga Amerikano? I have evidence to prove you wrong! (parang attorney na 'ko ah...hahahaha) Seriously, boxing in America into the label of "imperialist" would be an oversimplification and a denial of the complex forces at work shaping US policy through the years. Try mo kaya ang diachronic approach, kung gusto mo la lounge duree pa. text mo si Braudel. hehehe

You have opened the box of the imperialist discourse,my friend. If you're going to keep at it, I will gladly take up the challenge and become anti-thesis personified. Mas sasaya ang discussion natin kung ganon...hehe.

On one hand medyo nadagdagan ang pagka-irita ko sa'yo. On the other hand, I'm looking forward to the intellectual discussion. Humanda ka!

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