Friday, July 18, 2014

Be ballistic please!

There has been much controversy generated by a single tweet, one by broadcast journo Maki Pulido and her perception of the lack of compassion among health service providers at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

We’ve long known that social media easily gets the nerves of people. The problem is in a 21st century world devoid of wit and almost all of satire, these little microblog phrases do more than surgery. They do vivisection and expose the illness and its pathology if we may, and in the process killing the patient. In a more literate age, another physician did a similar thing. Dr Jose Rizal did not pen a tweet, but what made for tweets or blogs in 19th century Spanish Philippines are novels and essays. They killed Doctor Rizal who was essentially a messenger. But unlike Ms Pulido the journo, Dr Rizal had what we now call post-residency training. He was part of the medical fraternity. I never heard of an account that a physician went ballistic over Dr Rizal’s diagnosis. Perhaps it was professional courtesy.

Dr Rizal likens the disease as a cancer, then as much as is now, an incurable disease. He made the only prescription possible given the state of medical science at the time.

Dr Rizal wrote on his prescription pad

“I will do with you as the ancients did with their afflicted: expose them on the steps of the Temple so that each passer by would invoke the Divine and propose a cure”

And so the illness stinks and stinks like a diabetic foot or a carcinoma in which the flesh had started to suppurate.

My work rarely brings me to PGH and in the few times I went there (aside from a medical procedure), it was to give talks about rapid environment changes to physicians. Since some of the doctors were once my students in undergrad courses, they welcomed me and showed me around. Since I am a scientist, I have this insatiable curiosity to learn about the conditions of the hospital. And noting an unpleasant smell, I asked what was that. The resident doc told me it was what they call “diabetic foot”. And so that was my nose-opener. It was not that new. I am no stranger to bad smells. In one post assessment of a disaster, I have known the scent of decomposing human bodies.

I did not extend my visit beyond what was required since the doctors had to attend to their duties. But it was not long enough to comment if the doctors were compassionate enough. But it was long enough to comment about the facilities of PGH and the great lengths the physicians go to provide basic medical care to indigents.

And here is where that issue of compassion goes. The crux of the matter is that compassion to a health provider is different to the compassion, or what is thought to be compassion by the lay observer or by the patient. Western medicine is built upon objectivity in diagnosis and in treatment protocols and in assessing the health outcomes. Here is where compassion of the doctor must be seen. When one of these is awry especially the last, doctors get troubled and in the last they may raise their hands in frustration. Like Doctor Rizal and why?

My curiosity to know more about it made me pick up a copy of Dr Ting Tiongco’s memoirs of PGH life in “Surgeons do not Cry”. If one wants to know the context of compassion in PGH, I would suggest he/she reads Dr Tiongco’s book.

With this, I do not blame the physician for reacting the way she did and whose nerve got nicked by Pulido’s tweet. In frustrated words; she essentially made Rizal’s diagnosis. The question is what the cure should be? Should mere “exposition of the Temple’s steps” be enough?

I am of the opinion that Ms Pulido was just as frustrated enough as the doctor was. Analogous to a doctor’s job, a journalist has certain diagnostic jobs to report what is there, the feel good stories and the stories of corruption that make listeners and readers rise in anger.

And so the doctor and journo did Rizal’s job and exposed the afflicted on the Temple steps. However what kind of cure can netizens propose aside from likes and memes?!?

For starters, the whole Philippines is a PGH, if you keep your eyes, nose and ears open. I am an environmental scientist and has been to this PGH of islands and likewise like the physician, I raise my hands in frustration when I learned that the reason why there were decomposing bodies is because when they were alive, they had no choice but to live in that hazard prone area. Why?

I rage when social media hypes of Laboracay at the beach when at the same time I am on a remote island beach better than Boracay, to assess an environmental problem related to some capitalist environmentally damaging investment, but the welcoming party are smiling but tubercular and obviously protein malnourished kids. Why should they be tubercular in an age of Facebook? My grandmother finished her nursing degree at PGH during the American colonial period and she treated tubercular children in the same hospital. I remember her calling this condition with its ancient Greek name “pthisis”. She caught it at the hospital and she had it until her death. And yet children are dying of the same disease when people complain of slow Internet speed. When I joke of the Laboracay camp when the revolution is triumphant, it’s not just tongue in cheek!

I can give an endless number of examples. But one that makes me extremely ballistic is this. I rage at the middle classes who suggest that poor people deserve the kind of services they get (including PGH) since they don’t pay taxes. And they do pay taxes at every cup noodles they buy while their children fall victim to infectious diseases the rich and middle class need not worry about. And the children should not be subsisting on sodium rich cup noodles for in the future they would need dialysis machines.

And so what’s the cure for the disease? Where is justice? Perhaps only when the government criminals have no choice but to seek hospital arrest in PGH! Whether that be from hypertension, some gynecological condition or mere hysteria. Taking from Dr Rizal, Dr Ting Tiongco gives what I believe is the right prescription

“Drag them screaming to the people’s court to account for the injustices”

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Law of Unintended Consquences

China's claim to territories in the Sea of Southeast Asia [I refuse to call it what the Europeans named it as "South China Sea". THE SEA DOES NOT BELONG TO CHINA]  and its deployment of an oil rig to the Vietnamese territory of the Paracels has changed the military balance in Southeast Asia. (South Vietnam once occupied these islands but faced with imminent defeat from the Communists with no American support, lost these to the Chinese in a naval battle in 1974) Vietnam however challenged the intrusion to its sovereign territory by deploying coast guard ships which exchanged with Chinese ships water cannons.

While this could be one of those spats in a similar league to India and Pakistan's border guards doing their martial struts to the delight of a partisan tourist crowd, it is not. Vietnamese workers started burning factories owned by Taiwan, Singaporean and Chinese interests. China had no choice but to evacuate its nationals from Vietnam.

The Beijing's provocation is aimed at Obama's pivot in Asia doctrine. Unfortunately, it is unfolding as an epic failure for Beijing.

The conventional  Western wisdom is

1) Vietnam is the loser
2) The Philippines can't do anything and is weak

I disagree. China is the loser and it will lose big. None of the analysts factored in what the Japanese WILL DO.  China's Communist Party is risking its own overthrow.

China defeated a Vietnam without American support (the 1974 Battle of the Paracels) or a Socialist Vietnam still recovering from the War in 1989 when China's navy defeated them on the same islands. However Vietnam is in no way a weak military power in the 21st century.

A Chinese invasion of Vietnam will therefore be an exercise in tactical idiocy. The Vietnamese will use the same advantage they used against the Americans and easily defeat the interloping Chinese.

However this is not the main unintended consequence. China risks another danger if it invades any of the islands in the Spratlys currently occupied (not just claimed) by the Philippines. These islands are a civil territory with a civil government. Invasion may bring the Americans in. The Americans are already in with the enhanced defence arrangements (EDCA) agreed upon by Manila and Washington. Washington will likely avoid direct military confrontation but is likely to provide the hardware and training to Philippine forces and increase interoperability. This is really the rationale behind the enhanced defence arrangements. EDCA is designed to make PH armed forces improve in capability and credible defence similar to what the Americans did to post war Japan's military soon after World War II.

The Americans need not fire a single shot. However the Philippines should expect more Chinese harassment (this is what China has the capability to do at moment) especially in its gas fields and fishing grounds.

It is Japan, America's superpower proxy in the Western Pacific that will likely fire the shot that will sink the Chinese, if China persists on its hegemony in the Sea of Southeast Asia. I say this since this has been America's strategy in the Western Pacific since the time of Ronald Reagan and Yasuhiro Nakasone in the 1980s. America has encouraged Japan to be the "unsinkable aircraft carrier"in the Cold War against the Russians and despite economic recession in the 1990s that still bedevils it, Japan has expanded its rearmament and the Diet has passed incremental laws that expand the scope of operations of Japan's de facto armed forces,  the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF).

The JSDF has now legal remit to participate in UN peacekeeping operations and in disaster response. While JSDF troops and naval  and air assets cannot be on the frontline, they have successfully been deployed in Iraq, Ache, Indonesia during the great Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and maritime interdiction against piracy in the Indian Ocean. The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force (JMSDF), the de facto navy has proven it can operate as a blue water navy (which the Americans intended anyway).

One important historical development in Japan's post war military buildup was largely ignored by the PH and Western press and analysts but was not lost on Beijing. For the first time since World War II, Japan sent its de facto aircraft carrier with a de facto "battle" group to Leyte Gulf in 2013 for the Yolanda relief. While the JMSDF was on a humanitarian mission, Japan showed that it can send its navy and project airpower anywhere it wants to. JSDF mobilization and response is quick as proven in the 2011 Tohoku tsunami.

The deployment of the oil rig in the Paracels give Japan a cogent reason to defend international sea lanes by projecting its power. And in the Senkaku islands which China also claims, Japan has not hesitated to confront Chinese vessels. Japan will likely legally make its de facto armed forces into a de jure one in the next few years.

Japan's armed forces at the moment do not have enough forward capability since as a self defence force, it is mandated to defend the Japanese home islands and Okinawa. However close interoperability with the Americans can easily remedy that and America will be on a supporting role.

It is likely that even Vietnam, Japan, the US and PH will have military agreements to increase interoperability. AFP interoperability with Japan was foreseen by President Marcos in the late 1970s since he foresaw that America is unlikely to pursue a direct confrontation with regional powers. My father went to Japan in the early 1980s to study this possibility.

A Chinese military and naval defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese or Japanese can cause unrest in an China that is primed for unrest. China's economy is slowing down as discontent increases. The Party may not be able to control this for long.

And that is the unintended consequence!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

What's so good about the morning?

Cadets in formation. From the Philippine Military Academy website
The case of Cadet Cudia has brought into public (a.k.a. civilian) discussion what values the armed forces value and how this relates to the civil sector of society. In this country, the civilian authority as embodied by the President of the Philippines acting through his/her civilian defense secretary, is supreme. The constitutional tradition we inherited from the Roman Republic says "Cedant Arma Togae" or Arms give way to the Toga, only means that civilian authority is supreme. However, the civilian unless constitutionally given the right, is not supreme over the soldier. Thus social media warriors cannot claim supremacy over the soldier unless the constitution gives them authority! Social media civvie warriors at best have their own duty and the soldier his/her own. 

Philippine Military Academy (PMA) mistahs say that "civilians will never understand". Perhaps yes, if only the real ideal of civilian supremacy over the army. A mob can never be supreme over the army. An electorate expressing its democratic according to the modes prescribed by the Constitution will  and will always be.

However it is a bit daft for mistahs to think that civilians will never understand what the honor code is all about. Honor is actually a simple concept if one values the collective rather than the individual first. British public schools have the similar idea of what the PMA has and any violator is "dobbed" in. In fact even in university, by following the honor code, you can dob in an erring prof! (This was the "dob in a Don" controversy under the conservative Australian government about a decade ago) And this raises a ruckus if one considers American ideas of academic freedom.

 I am for the moment a civvie and I fully understand these things! Anyone one who signs up for the service (boot camp!) has to have his/her behavior changed. The army doesn't need individualists but people who will subordinate their will to command. It is not just simple following of orders, but reasoned obedience to command. The orders must be clear, concise and complete to the last detail. Any SNAFU can lead to disaster and unnecessary loss of life. When I blew my top after reading Cadet Cudia's appeal on a social media news site, it was because it violated what being clear, concise and complete really means!

Behavior is changed from day 1. Regimentation begins and then follows the almost endless inculcation of plebe knowledge from important stuff like the definition of military discipline, military courtesy to almost trivial things like the right answer to "What's so good
about the morning?" at morning inspection.

And of course the Honor Code that even we in the Cadet Corps of the University of the Philippines high school and ROTC had a version of.

And of course not to leave out the important objective of developing "esprit d corps" from a bunch of misfits and losers!

The plebe is the lowest form of life in the army. Even the private who issues the army issues have more authority! One has to respect authority and best of all be courteous even to the goddamned private!

And the plebe cannot be seen or heard not to know, but always to find out!

But the plebe doesn't remain a plebe for long. He/she will be recognized in due time and who knows may end up like General Douglas MacArthur! Then he/she will be commanding all, from the goddamed private to the Generals! The General of the Army like MacArthur is courteous to the lowest ranking soldier to the Commander-in-Chief. My oh my, courtesy is a rare commodity these days in our society!

But to get to this stage, one has to perform his/her duty well in honor and to his/her country above all. To do it well and honorably for the country is to persevere in what you are doing.

The unfortunate thing is that this important military training experience is lost to many of the young people. It's like the Latin Mass, almost lost. With ROTC being made an option and universities and colleges not promoting it as well as the other civilian options for national service, young men and women have not a idea that there are times one has to subordinate the will for a worthy cause, like national defense or responding to disasters. Here we need the values of discipline and courtesy that enable us to perform our duty well under grace and pressure.

And we then realize what our authority as civilians really is all about! The challenge for the armed forces and most especially for the mistahs of the professional officer corps is to live up to the whole idea of being a soldier. The AFP has to clean up its barracks and to show it as spotless to the civilian supreme authority.

My dad sang to me the  old Army ditty when I first put on the uniform. "You're in the army now, you'll never get out!"

What never left me is the sense that there are times I have to reasonably obey command and to give commands and also that important value of courtesy which plebe knowledge defines simply as "an expression of consideration for others"

What's so good about the morning? Sir, you sir!

Friday, November 15, 2013

The government is washed away

All Philippine Presidents have faced disasters and catastrophes in their terms, be this man made or natural. Manuel Quezon faced his greatest trial during the Japanese invasion. The president installed by the Japanese occupiers, Jose P Laurel faced his greatest trial trying to protect his people from the Japanese. Quezon's successor Sergio Osmena faced his by trying to rebuild the Philippines from the war's damage. The other presidents faced earthquakes, numerous typhoons and droughts and floods and they were able to rise to the occasion. And this even included Mrs Cory Aquino, who had to face the RAM coup disaster aside from the great earthquake, a big volcanic eruption and of course a series of deadly typhoons. She rose to the occasion even if many did not agree with her policies.

Why did these presidents of the Philippines rise to the occasion? Perhaps before they were elected, they realized that the Presidency is no PR cakewalk and that it involves a certain gravitas which Mrs Aquino was well acquainted with, given the tragic episodes of her life. She was known to be on her knees in prayer so many times.  The presidency as Mrs Aquino knew, isn't just PR. Mrs Aquino was known to be like steel when she decides, whether these decisions were right or wrong. She took the blame gracefully.

The presidency of Mrs Aquino's son Noynoy is probably the first presidency installed into power solely by PR hype. Everything in this Aquino administration smacks of PR stunts. From its "daang matuwid" mantra to how it manages important policy decisions. It is reactive. While some of the responses were for the greater public good, some responses were not, especially its stonewalling on the proper response to the tourist bus hostage taking in the Luneta.

The signs of the problem were apparent from the earliest days of this presidential administration. The response to the Haiyan catastrophe in terms of decision making and management is nothing but a worse version of how the bus hostage taking was managed scaled up in dimensions. This administration appears not to have learned any lessons on how to handle a crisis and now it is paying for it and the people are paying a huge price for it, in terms of lives being lost

The PR spin instinct has not been lost. Mr Aquino denies the scale of lives lost. Similar large scale disasters have happened in other countries and the leaders of these countries had to break the grim news to their people, not by PR spinning it. Presidents and Prime Ministers and even Monarchs who have no political roles have the responsibility to tell it how it is, comfort the nation and make the national resolve as hard as steel, raise the morale of the people and challenge them to rebuild or if necessary to fight. Manuel Quezon had the unfathomable responsibility of telling his people this in December 1941.

Mr Aquino, the body count is rising, tell your people to be strong. You have the nerve to tell them that they were unprepared one day after the catastrophe!  You also walked out of a disaster briefing and pointedly told a looting victim "that he did not die"!

Filipinos compare what happened in Japan. That is a very apt comparison in terms of damage and scale. The disaster response did take a while, about 2 to 3 days but the Prime Minister of Japan ordered his forces to respond on the same day. A few days later the government asked the  Emperor give a message to his subjects, asking them to grieve, help, and rebuild. In no instance did the Prime Minister or Emperor tell the people that they were unprepared. That will be in the chambers of the Diet, where the blame game should be.

The presidency of Mr Aquino, despite whatever good it has done, will solely be judged by history on how it conducted itself in this catastrophe, as Christiane Amanpour would rightly judge. But this presidency is found wanting. And all that ride on the political roller coaster of the presidency are found wanting, including media and the military in which my father served and warned a year before his death that corruption in the Armed Forces will result in the inability of the soldiers to respond to threats that could kill people. My father was referring to armed threats to national security. But disasters now are a threat to national security. Unless and we are seeing the breakdown of society in Leyte. This will continue unless the government imposes law and order.

I will not be as harsh like Peque Gallaga in his indictment. But like Direk Peque Gallaga, I will UNFRIEND anyone in social media and face to face if anyone asks me to obey AQUINO's GOVERNMENT and criticize it later! My conscience will not allow it. I cannot reasonably take commands from a commander-in-chief who cannot effectively command because he can't decide well! This is something I learned from my ROTC training.

PR like anything media practitioners have hatched is easily washed out. It was and with it this Aquino presidency. Like Peque, as far as I am concerned for those who criticize me for criticizing Mr Aquino and his government, it's either you  smash your idols or choose the welfare of the people.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Simoun's lamp has been lit, finally.. not by one but by the many!

"So often have we been haunted by the spectre of subversion which, with some fostering, has come to be a positive and real being, whose very name steals our serenity and makes us commit the greatest blunders... If before the reality, instead of changing the fear of one is increased, and the confusion of the other is exacerbated, then they must be left in the hands of time..."

Dr Jose Rizal "To the Filipino People and their Government"

Jose Rizal dominates the Luneta, which is sacred to the Philippine nation as a place of martyrdom. And many perhaps all of those executed in the Luneta, with the exception of the three Filipino secular priests martyred in 1872, have read Rizal's El Filibusterismo. Dr Rizal's second novel is a darker and more sinister one that its prequel but has much significance across the century and more after it was published for it preaches the need for revolution with caveats,  which are when the time is right and who will instigate it.

In El Filibusterismo, Rizal advocates nothing but revolution but being the romantic he was, he wanted the revolution instigated by the noble and pure, those "sin mancha" for "sea holocausta acceptable". Surely the characters Rizal created in Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo could never fit the bill. For Rizal only the Filipino youth could.

I have always been intrigued about the character of Simoun. There is nothing that has been created in all of world literature that personifies corruption in all its shades, depths and motives. Simoun can represent the kind of government we have allowed to take its place. In the end, Simoun the corrupted, reveals the reason why he became corrupt and that is to avenge the loss of his love. But this love is not the Philippines. Simoun by partaking of the corruption, became corrupt himself and fostered further tyranny. And so he, mortally wounded,  received absolution after confessing from the noble Indio priest, Florentino.

Simoun's lamp is a metaphor for all the last resort of the defenseless against corruption. The nitro-glycerin in the lamp "is all the hatred, wrongs, injustice and outrage" all distilled as a clear liquid. Rizal was not against the lighting of the lamp, but he was against lighting the lamp for the wrong reasons and motives. The weapon that will kill corruption is no more than a noble idea and Rizal was clear on that.

And have we lighted the lamp? Perhaps we did on August 26, 2013 the day of heroes. Definitely the metaphorical lamp was not lit by the corrupt, the corrupted or by the corruptors. It was lit by neither but by so many Filipinos whose only motive, and noble indeed that is,  to seek a just future for their nation and children.

And the lamp will explode when the people have reached that height, God's weapon definitely. The oligarchic idols will be crushed and the corrupt edifice will fall like a house of cards.. that is if the Filipino government fails to punish the criminals, excise its putrefaction, burn the vices of its thieves.

Otherwise the lamp will just be a source of light and justice. What then is your choice?

Sunday, August 25, 2013

A social media milestone, August 26, 2013, Opportunities and Caveats

"If you want Revolution, you have to do it like Bonifacio did, face to face"

So much has been written in the academic to the non academic literature about what triggered and why the Arab Spring revolutions eventually restructured the political landscape of the Middle East. This has been one of the topics in our Science, Technology and Society (STS) courses in the University of the Philippines.

Then in PH, came the horrible scandal of the pork barrel funds mess. One woman on Facebook suggested that the people come to Manila's Luneta Park to express their disgust to what their lawmakers and the Executive did to their tax money. And the call became viral.

At first based on the data we have for social media access, political mobilization across the social economic classes of PH society may be harder than expected. While 30-40 million Filipinos may have accounts to any of the social media platforms, the nature of their access is class defined. Social media in PH is essentially a middle class phenomenon and reflects this class's concerns, ideologies and biases so much made manifest in the outrage resulting from a college freshman's suicide last March.

Or is it really a purely middle class phenomenon?

So far there has been no sustained social movement in the last 30 years that has resulted in social structural change in PH society regardless of the media used to effect it. Social and political movements may have effected regime change via media as in EDSA 1986 and EDSA 2000, it is debatable if social structural change has happened.

Social movements may focused on a single issue or issues particular to a socio-economic class. In the social media paradigm and theory, these movements may start as emergent entities without a central authority although they may have a co-ordinating group. It is almost a given that social movements are composed of various interest groups which have to be co-ordinated and any decision should be by consensus.

Social movements may have as an end goal political and economic reform within the current status quo. This would necessitate negotiated settlement among the various groups and based on the experience of the negotiated end of Apartheid in South Africa (which couldn't be done without including the exiled African National Congress (ANC)), it is expected that the aftermath won't be easy. The ANC's front in South Africa (which opposed accommodation with the old regime) was not the only anti Apartheid group but they went into confrontation with other groups which accepted the Apartheid regime's reforms that negotiation was the only solution.

All this happened before the Age of Internet but photocopied pamphlets fulfilled the role of viral memes in the Facebook universe.

A revolutionary movement's goal is to overthrow an existing ruling socio-political institutions commonly by violence or less commonly by negotiation.

A social movement may morph into a revolutionary movement once authority and decision making becomes more centralized. Social media has changed how this is to be done. With social media, revolutionary movements right from the start would have to network outside their ideological groups, even if some of the groups are antithetical to their ideology, thereby taking on the function of a social movement. The literature on revolutions is inordinately focused on outcomes rather than mobilization or organization. The Age of Social Media is interesting for STS studies since the outcome of any social and revolutionary movement is extremely closely mediated by technology that determines the organization or lack of organization of the event or its effectiveness.

Nonetheless, social and revolutionary movements today require strong social media networking (which is now easily done) which can translate to mobilization. But commitment to social and political change requires face to face encounters.

What will happen on the Luneta on August 26, 2013 bears watching. However the participants should resist any attempt of the emergent organizers to focus the attention on a particular issue when it is clear to PH society that the problem is structural and may require the removal of the ruling class, by negotiation if much as possible!

Sunday, June 09, 2013

What does Satire do?

Satire as genre in visual art, performing arts and in literature is used to ridicule society's shortcomings, vices, mores and conventions. While it HAS to be FUNNY, it's main goal is constructive, to give chance to the satirized to REFORM themselves.

Satire in the Western Canon is from the Romans like Horace and Juvenal whose styles set the standard for satire throughout history. My favourite satirical work is Petronius Arbiters' The Satyricon which I first read while attending the University of the Philippines. It is a major work of literature for the single reason that it satirizes Roman society of the first century AD as well as giving linguists a clue on how colloquial Latin was spoken. The chapters on Trimalchio's Dinner Party are hilarious to the extent that F Scott Fitzgerald once considered "Trimalchio" as a possible title to his novel which eventually became "The Great Gatsby"

Satire ridicules the pompous and the holier than thous and is most devastating to social climbers. In fact social climbers and careerists are shredded by satire most effectively, a fact not lost on the Philippine's premiere satirist, Dr Jose Rizal who in Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo, shreds the friars, social climbers and the gamut of Philippine colonial society and of course the Royal and Pontifical University!

And so when we read that a comic strip artist in a point of satirical effort, makes a joke in the characters of fictional fat characters, about lesbians in a  Catholic all girls school, the paper publishing the strip suspended the artist.

On threat of a lawsuit. But then again, lawsuits and lawyers are fair game for satirists as well as nuns and priests! The Pope not excepted by satire but recent satire on the Pope is more of the Horatian kind (gentle and constructive) rather than the Juvenalian kind. Remember the "Pope must Diet"? Robble Coltrane satirizes not the goodness of the Pope but the badness of people managing the Pope!

Rizal had no choice but to be Juvenalian. And for that he was shot! At least the comic strip artist was just suspended.

Of course there will be the offended. The politically correct, the pompous, the holier than thou, and the wealthy. But that is what satire is all about.

Only idiots need the warning that what they will read is a satire. Perhaps this is to avoid a lawsuit. But satire is no drug and does not require a BFAD warning. It is a work of art and has to be protected by rights to free expression.

Perhaps the Filipino people did Rizal wrong. They turned his satires into Holy Gospels and the satirist into a hero!