Thursday, May 29, 2008

Interview with Captain Faeldon (Part 4 of 4)

Captain Faeldon emphasizes the need not to be career-oriented:
"...when you think of your career as your number one consideration...everything you do is in preparation for a next promotion, for a higher achievement, and that compromises public service..."
He says that this is the problem with other soldiers i.e. their being too career oriented.

Again, he emphasizes that he will never run for any electoral positon and will never accept any appointive position.

Captain Faeldon says that the most difficult thing he has done is to set his mind to the the worst case scenario...
"Any proponent of ideas [that they think] could eventually survive, and remove them [from their comfort zone]...they will not allow that to happen"
...and says that if he dies fighting and holding on to his beliefs, then he'll be satisfied.

Interview with Captain Faeldon (Part 3 of 4)

In this segment, Capt. Faeldon emphasizes that a political leader is supposed to understand that, "you are supposed to serve [the public] have no power over them, you are their servant".

In the most cryptic part of the interview (at least to me), Faeldon explains that restiveness in the military will be there as long as there are irregularities. However he observes as well that there is growing mistrust among the soldiers that they are just being used to further the personal ambitions of certain people which is why they do not participate "in order to play safe".

Faeldon also says that Gloria Arroyo has no authority to pardon him because she is not a legitimate President.

On the question of whether or not the Filipino people are ready for change, he gives what i think is the best piece of personal advice in this interview...
" aware of what you're thinking because it defines you as a person and it guides your action[s], so when you say that 'the people are not ready for change, the people are not ready to change values, the people are not ready to change their character,' that defines your actions"

Interview with Captain Faeldon (Part 2 of 4)

Faeldon states that another principle of their group is not to engage in partisan politics. (This included refusing to endorse his brother during the elections in 2004.) On the idea of National Consciousness, he emphasizes its required scope...
"...national consciousness cannot be achieved without majority of the people in a certain a nation...adheres to it...hindi puwede iyong magbuo ka lang ng isang milyon sa Metro Manila...then try to make a dent sa pambansa..."
...and clarifies its meaning as:
"...a situation where majority of the Filipino people have agreed united behind one idea and aspiration... [which represents their hope in life]..."
Capt. Faeldon also explains the failure of the post-EDSA (1986) leadership to capitalize on the people's unity at that time to take "strong positions on economic and political policies".

Interview with Captain Faeldon (Part 1 of 4)

Captain Faeldon explains the origin of, and the need for National Consciousness which requires personal sacrifice in the "long haul activity for this nation". He also rejects armed uprising and believes that the means to attain his vision is through democracy and non-violence.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Crispin Beltran

"What happened — his being on the roof, a 75-year old man with a hammer, doing household work and making sure his home and family were safe from the rains — is (was?) so like Ka Bel. He lived and worked from day to day always with meaningful intent, with purpose, with the aim to protect and defend those he cared for and loved the most. And that purpose extended (oh how it it did reach outward and forward like an undeniable force of nature!) beyond his family — he embraced the working class, the Filipino people, and even the poor and oppressed of other nations." - From a tribute by Ina Silverio
Truly an exemplary human being and a rare breed of Congressman. Read the whole thing over at Ellen's blog.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Austronesian Migration: Questions and Links

My friend Melvin, who is also interested in the migrations of peoples through history has some thought-provoking questions on this subject, particularly as it relates to the Austronesian migration to the Philippines, the rest of Southeast Asia and beyond:
  1. Why are Kapampangan speakers completely surrounded by Tagalog speakers (a language that's not really similar to it)?
  2. How did Tagalog -- a Cebuano cousin -- become entrenched in the regions around Laguna de Bay and Taal Lake, instead of languages that developed on Luzon island?
  3. How is it that peninsular Malaysia is part of the Austronesian language region (that originated in Taiwan), when migrations from the Indian subcontinent or from southern China seems easier?
  4. Did volcanic eruptions completely wipe out the original inhabitants of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia? Did this event, in turn, facilitate the migration of Austronesian peoples?
  5. What led the Austronesians to become master seafarers that populated the Pacific islands and went as far as Madagascar? Was there some important natural event?
  6. [Added May-27-2008] Do you know how related Mon-Khmers are to Austronesians? (Cambodians don't really look that much different from Malays).
Any answers (or links) to the above would be appreciated.

Melvin has also pointed to a useful website, The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database**.

Update May-21-2008: In the comments section, Anonymous has provided some information relevant to Questions #1 to #3 above.

Specific to Question #1 and #2, i.e. the encirclement of Kapampangans by the Tagalogs, Anonymous explains:

"Kapampangans used to populate the areas around Tondo, Nueva Ecija, Bulacan, and Bataan. At the arrival of the conquistas there were only around 70,000 Tagalogs and 70,000 Kapampangans, and the areas of Pampanga and Katagalugan were mostly covered in forest. So the areas which are now populated with Tagalogs have just been deforested and populated in the past 150 years. The encroachment of Tagalogs is a recent phenomena (due to Tagalog speaking people's population boom). The policy of Filipino (Tagalog) as national language has converted a lot of native Kapampangan speakers as well.

Tagalogs were sent by Bornean Datus to represent Borneo's trade interests with mainland Chinese merchants in the all important port of Manila. In the beginning, Laguna and Batangas was their heartland, because that's as far as they can push (otherwise they'd meet the bolos of Kapampangan tribes if they pushed harder into Manila!) as Kapampangans had control of the Manila (Rajah Soliman, Lakan Dula and Matanda were Kapampangan). Of course, it should be remembered that Tagalogs and Kapampangans had friendly relations due to diplomacy by familial intermarriages of the aristocracy."

I take the above to mean that the encroachment of Tagalogs in what used to be the domain of the Kapampangans is a consequence of the Pax-Hispanica imposed by the Spanish colonizers which meant that previous tribal boundaries were no longer barriers to free movement.

Regarding Question #3, i.e. the presence of Austronesians in Malaysia, Anonymous offered the following hypothesis:

"Eden in the East, the Drowned Continent of Southeast Asia by Stephen Oppenheimer posits that Austronesians had their native homeland in Sundaland-which is located in the South China Sea area bordered by Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia. The melting of ice after the last ice age drowned the continent, and pushed its people out of Sundaland into the Philippines, Oceania, even as far as Madagascar."

This scenario is possible as seen from the vast areas of Sundaland submerged at the end of the last Ice Age as shown in the before and after pictures below.***

Click on image to enlarge

According to the Genographic Project, Y-DNA marker Haplogroup O1a-M119 associated with the Austronesians emerged 30,000 years ago so the timescales do match. So if Ice Age Sundaland was inhabited by the Austronesians, this would explain their continued presence in the Malay Peninsula. On the other hand, the as per the Wikipedia entry on the Austronesian Languages, the greatest linquistic and genetic diversity is found in Taiwan which supports the competing claim that the Austronesian language originated in that island. These conflicting facts still need to be reconciled to arrive at a coherent historical narrative.

You can read the entirety of Anonymous' explanation in the comments section.

Update May-23-2008: Anonymous has pointed to a blog by Paul K. Manansala with fascinating entries on the Austronesians (with emphasis on the Nusantao). His blog also gives a more detailed account of the Sundaland flooding events, of which there were 3 major episodes.

In one of his blog entries on the topic, Manansala gives an important warning...

"...we should not assume anything about the "race" of the Austronesian speakers, or for that matter the "Melanesians" back in the Neolithic period when these expansions occurred.

Austronesian speakers in the Pacific -- Micronesians, Melanesians and Polynesians -- for example, all have significant percentages of Y chromosome C2 haplogroup. In some Polynesian areas, C2 is the dominant haplotype. However, C2 has not been found in Taiwan so far."
The above advice is especially relevant to my previous blog entry on the Y-DNA Human Family Tree where i use mnemonic shortcuts to denote certain Haplogroups. Each linguistic group may have individuals predominantly belonging to one Haplogroup but clearly the categories of language and genetic genealogy can and do overlap.

In the same blog entry, Manansala also differentiates between the 'Austronesian' and the 'Malayo-Polynesian' expansions.

Update May-27-2008: Related to Question #4 above, Melvin clarifies his question...

"About the volcanic eruption-related questions, I was actually wondering whether later eruptions kept SE Asia sparsely populated, since Sumatra and Java are littered with volcanoes. On the same vein, I also wonder whether Banahaw and Taal had helped ensure that a Visayan language (Tagalog) and not a Kapampangan/Panggalatoc relative take root in the Batangas/Quezon region."
On the Austronesian origins of the Thai language, Melvin shares what he read:

"Thai originated in Taiwan as an Austronesian language but has evolved into a totally different language. Unlike other Austronesian languages that took on the seas, Thai's route was through mainland southern China. The Thais arrived in Thailand during the Song dynasty, where they displaced the Khmer Empire that once ruled the area."
I have also added his Question #6 on the relationship of the Mon-Khmer with the Austronesians.

Over in his blog, Paul K. Manansala points to new research that challenges the 'Out of Taiwan' agriculture-driven origin of the Austronesian people and supports the Sundaland flooding triggered dispersal model.

*Melvin read an article last year that mentioned about a volcanic event that wiped out the population of southern India.
**Greenhill, S. J., Blust. R, & Gray, R.D. (2003-2008) The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database.
***Source of Images: The Genographic Project's Atlas of the Human Journey
****Melvin read that Cambodians settled in Southeast Asia quite recently (around 3,000 years ago) and have migrated from somewhere near northern India.