Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Muslim, Catholic, and Chinese challenges

The Muslim, Catholic, and Chinese challenges

Slowly but surely, the local Muslim community has grown to unexpected proportions in a city high up in the hills, with the nearest body of water several miles away.

Muslims are supposed to be a coastal people, diving for fish or riches in the ocean deep, or, for the criminal of mind, engaging in piracy, raiding helpless towns, and robbing honest traders plying the surface of the sea.

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No one really knows when and what made them merchants of the soil, selling all kinds of wares from sunglasses to DVDs, and before that, branded rubber footwear like Adidas and Nike, not exactly made in Switzerland or Germany.

The joke is that articles for sale by Muslims come cheap because of their questionable origin.

When the cell phone business became a booming industry, the Muslims were practically the first to benefit, knowing where to scour for cheap but fancy-looking mobiles that were later sold for twice their actual value, with outlandish claims of being imported but smuggled.

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They also quickly learned how to do repair work, charging fees for loose wirings that need only to be tightened, or replacing a missing screw, making it appear that it involved intricate work by telling you to come back hours later or the next day.

To the consternation of the police, not a few cell phone dealers were soon engaged in the fencing business, buying cheap and selling high, since it is almost impossible to trace a stolen cell phone by simply substituting a new SIM.

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And as the Muslim community grew in number and affluence, so, too, did they become bolder, acting as a mob when a member is threatened even with legal arrest.

In one celebrated city incident, about 50 Muslims faced off with the Baguio police, who were greatly outnumbered and forced to call for back up. Occurrences like these are not healthy for a peaceful and law-abiding city like Baguio, whose citizens, alas, are united in purpose but not of action.

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This is true not only in politics, but also in the battle against crime or evil.

Oh, Baguio folks will march against Jadewell and for peace and order, but would not dare stand up against a group aching or looking for a fight.

Their biggest fear is that politics as practiced in the northern provinces will soon contaminate the city.

In fact, I am rather perturbed that certain politicians who continue to suffer defeat at the polls election after election are proposing that the only way to beat Domogan is to “take him out.”

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What, replace a “perceived evil” as seen from the eyes of the blind, with a real one? I hope those desperados are only joking.

And yet to some extent, and I do not refer to Domogan, the only way to fight fire is with fire itself. I mean, who are the people taking Baguio away from us? Who are the carpetbaggers from north and south of the city?

Well, if you do not fight back, be prepared to become slaves in the place of your birth.

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Long before the invaders from the lowlands came to Baguio, the Chinese community was already in place, but preferred, to borrow the words of a magazine writer, “to assimilate and integrate, rather than dominate.”

Unhappily, one can not say the same of (their) Mainland China, whose economy is said to have overtaken all other industrialized countries except the United States and Japan, and judging from the weather signs, may have visions to take over as world leader in case the United States and Europe falter.

But with all the problems facing these God-forsaken islands, this is of little concern to us, especially since we are treated as beggars anyway by the present world powers.

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China may be treading that path, but better a fellow Asian than the Caucasians, who have this irritating notion that color of skin signifies superiority.

But racing in that same direction are the Muslim countries, said to be scheming to bring the world to its knees by means of annihilation, and although there appears to be no sinister link between this ambition and terrorism, it is thru this means, planned or otherwise, that could lead to that end—an Islam earth.

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And while these are happening, the Catholic Church, unless a miracle similar to Fatima happens, appears to be losing its grip over its flock, who seem keen in moving over to other religions, if only to resurrect their badly battered belief and faith in God.

Except perhaps for the nuns, there is a silent but angry perception that Rome’s messengers are interested in more mundane things rather than spreading the Gospel of the Lord.

A priest enjoying the perks of life—dining, wining, driving around, sometimes with a woman in tow— certainly does not sit well with the ordinary parishioner, since men of the cloak are deemed to be literally servants of heaven.

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There is nothing also Christian about the way Catholic-owned schools treat their employees and students, exacting high tuition fees and paying low wages. Whoever said that tyranny went out with the Spanish friars was dead wrong.

So today we have a choice between becoming a Muslim or a communist, while the apostles of the church busy themselves accumulating worldly possessions instead of saving the souls of the faithful.

Why, even the running priest is a politician in disguise, and the bishops use their power to have their prot├ęgees appointed to choice government positions.

Power does not only come out of the barrel of a gun, but in a democracy, even more so from the mouths of those who preach sacrifice and goodness.

Like they say, “hindi ko naman linalahat, kaya lang….yun na nga.” Condemn them Lord, for they know what they do. Amen. 
 
Article by: Benny Carantes
Title: Opposite Connection
Publisher: Baguio Midland Courier, 
October 25, 2009
Credits are due to the author and publisher above.

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