Sinicization of PH: On becoming China's 24th province Philippine Star

Sinicization of PH: On becoming China's 24th province Featured

Now that Duterte has gagged his people from publicly discussing China and the West Philippine Seas (WPS) issue, the President has effectively quarantined the policy formulation process within his own bubble - sterilized from ideas emanating from outside inputs and vaccinated from public debates that are an integral part of good and effective governance.

Add to this his fatuous declaration that the arbitral award was just a piece of paper that he can throw away, contradicting himself when he appeared before the United Nations General Assembly in September 2020, rejecting any attempt to undermine the said arbitral ruling. And with the President's personal bias against America or perhaps intimidated by China - all these could signal the beginning of the final chapter of the Sinification of our country, China's possible slow but inevitable takeover of the Philippines as its 24th province or maybe the sixth autonomous region with the same status as Inner Mongolia or Tibet. Filipinos may opt for a Special Administrative Region (SAR) category similar to Hong Kong and Macau - considering Pinoys' love for shopping, excellent Chinese cuisine and gambling.

Spanish and American heritage

For so long, we were under the Spanish colonialists, who, for three and a half centuries, successfully imparted religion but not so much the language of the motherland. Language is the cultural soul and the construct that molds the dreams and aspiration of a people. True, it was spoken by the Filipino and Spanish elites of the time, but only the remnants of Kastila have survived in the board rooms of a few venerable businesses in Makati. Most no longer speak the language except at some elite schools - pretentiously reduced to telegraphic monosyllabic utterances of "coño-coño," passing themselves off as mestizo descendants of the peninsulares and insulares.

Under America's tutelage for a period less than a third of Spain's, we took to heart the rugged individualism of the west but more importantly, the American language. Thanks principally to the Thomasites who arrived in 1901, who liberalized education and taught their little brown brothers English, propagated and democratized the same. Today we speak our vernacular at home but mostly English as a second tongue once we step out - the lingo of business and the dominant transmission mechanism for information, communication and social media networking; likewise, the dominant text of academic papers, technical books and even literature. Many Filipinos think in English and articulate in the dialect for informal talk and street conversation. But the cosmopolitan elite and educated middle class if they have to speak formally in public or in conferences do so in English, distinguishing themselves from the rural folks. But English serves to stitch communications among a diversity of languages and dialects.


Four hundred years of Spanish and American influence resulted in a Filipino three-way personality split. We have the ingrained convent-bred values and Catholic Church-oriented beliefs blended with our superstitions and animism; the permissiveness of Hollywood and stoicism of the East; all these anchored in our Malay ethnicity, patois and diversity. We are a mishmash of cultures and, sometimes, contradictory proclivities. We are impervious to cultural onslaught inculcating in us a resiliency that could be the core of our survival as a people - as a nation.

Chinese influence and accomplishments

So, what's wrong with being subsumed by China? We have been trading with the Chinese for the better part of our known and written history, longer than Spain and America. Artifacts point to thriving communities and insights into peaceful lives with the Chinese. These Sangleys (frequent visitors) were traders, but mass migration occurred from Fujian and Guangdong provinces to avoid poverty and worsening famine in China. And "encik" denoted an address of respect - "venerable uncle" - until sometime in the past covered now by the mists of time, Intsik assumed pejorative connotations. But until now, my Tagalog family still uses endearing titles of familial respect: kuya, ate, dikong and diche for eldest brother, eldest sister, second oldest brother and second eldest sister. And my Filipino grandchildren consider their yayas or amahs as surrogate mothers. The Chinese never did try to colonize us the way Spain and America did although these cultures influenced us in many positive ways.

The Philippines' future

We have been emulating the democratic system handed down to us by Mother America for a hundred years - a concept now fraying at the edges. Thanks to the US' unhinged former president, it has exposed to the bone America's weaknesses, its inner rot. Their democratic system of governance is imploding. Yet it is not America's fault that our aping America's lead has not given us the advantages. The blame is on us, principally our political leadership. After World War 2, we were reportedly economically second only to Japan in Asia. Now, we are known as the service providers of the world, nurses, caregivers, sailors; not that these are dishonorable jobs giving our families dollar-income, practically shoring up our economy, but we need a better mix in our industries. Our Asian neighbors have overtaken us; in industries, technologies and by many metrics even in agriculture and food production.

China's accomplishments may rub off on us. From World Bank and multilateral agencies, they are one in their conclusion that "...under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the world's largest developing country has achieved a complete eradication of extreme poverty, raising more than 770 million poor people from poverty since its reform and opening up in late 1970s." We could cite a litany of achievements of China spurred by their government under their communist party, which is anathema to America's concept of governance which we Filipinos emulate. Freedom and liberty were always the American rallying cry and core concepts of democracy. Not necessarily ours. We would probably be better off with China.

But there is a negative flip side to China-centrism. Learning to speak the language and reading and writing the logo-syllabic pinyin system would be difficult to the alphabet-oriented. But imbibing the culture would be a cinch as we have more centuries of Chinese than Western influence. The locally born Tsinoys (Chinese Filipinos) comprise almost 30 percent of the population and are mostly well-integrated. Chinese Filipino blood runs in our Malay veins.

But in a December 2019 SWS poll, 53 percent of Filipinos consider that the number of Chinese (not Tsinoys) working in the Philippines is a "threat" to the country's security. The Bureau of Immigration (BI) estimates a spike of mostly legalized 3 million Chinese entering the country between 2016 and 2018 coinciding with Duterte's closer ties to China. And they are taking blue-collar jobs after Duterte's declaration to "let them work here"!

So, perhaps, Duterte's China-centric posturing is food for thought. We don't negotiate with China. We surrender! For the Deegong, confronting China is a zero-sum game resulting inevitably in war; too incompetent to seek other alternatives than just to pass it on to the next administration. And his promise to jet-ski to the WPS planting a flag to assert our sovereign rights is after all just a joke.

And guess who is the biggest joke of all?!

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Read 562 times Last modified on Wednesday, 02 June 2021 10:10
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