Tag Archives: Mindanao


On the Conflict in Sabah

By Kert

“… ‘nation’ is a fundamentally contested concept that defies easy definition or explanation.”

“when we locate and define a ‘nation’s origins’ we are in effect also mapping, often literally, it’s current political claims and aspirations”

(Jackson-Preege 2010)

(Image Via GMA News Online)

Presently, the talks and arguments I hear on Sabah from Filipinos revolve around the legitimacy of Sulu’s claim over Sabah. Different figures are maneuvering in relation to Sulu’s claim — the Malaysian government, the Philippine government and the Sulu sultanate.

But other things are also wanting of discourse here. First is how Malaysia was threatened as armed men from Sulu landed in Sabah, which the two parties consider their territory. As a nation, Malaysia has to protect if not their people, but their political claim towards Sabah. Second is the human rights violation the Malaysian government had done towards Filipino citizens (and the Philippine president’s inaction). The brutal response of the Malaysian government with sixty three people dead cannot and must not be overlooked.

There is another dimension to it that is absent in most conversations about the issue. Everyone seems to have forgotten the actual people living in Sabah and how they consider their nationality. How do they define their identity? Which nation do they consider “home”? We talk so much about the sultan of Sulu’s claim, but what about the claim of the people actually living in Sabah? Would they consider themselves Malaysians or members of the Sultan’s people? And if we take into account the definition of territoriality back in the time of the Spanish, what sort of national identities should we follow? — and I mean this not only for Sabah but for the entire Insular Southeast Asia.

Voices of the ordinary people are seldom heard in the conversations. But the people of Sabah should be at the heart of this issue.  At the moment, the lives of the people in Sabah will be the most affected by the recurring changes of the decisions of the nations. They’re in the middle of the game set between Malaysia, Philippines and the sultanate of Sulu. And as the tension gets higher, they’re the ones left in a difficult situation.


Photo Collection: The Lake Sebu Experience Part 2



Photo Collection: The Lake Sebu Experience


It’s been a rather busy start of the year so forgive me if I haven’t been as active as I wanted to. I am going to keep this blog. I have no thoughts of giving this up whatsoever, but I won’t be very active in the blogosphere for a couple of weeks.

These months, however, have been very interesting. I’m proud to announce that the University of the Philippines Diliman, the uni where I graduates, was awarded Center of Excellence by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED. Here’s the document that proves it:

It’s also the first time of the university I’m a part of to host a massive conference comprising prestigious speakers from all over the country. The conference is about K-12 and Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education — both were implemented just recently. It was hard work for most of us and I would have really wanted to just sit down and listen to the talks. Alas, I was juggling several work loads.

I also had the chance to visit the ancestral land of the T’boli in Lake Sebu. We took our speakers there for R&R. The T’boli are very noteworthy. They’re very strong and they’ve kept their identity through the ages even with many threats in their surroundings. Their pride as a group is immense. I guess this raging pride tightens their hold to their culture and ancestry and binds them together as one. Given the chance, I’d love to conduct fieldwork in the area.

Other than that it’s been work, work, work for me. I did say I want to post every other day but with unexpected events I won’t be able to do that. However, I will try to post and interact as much as I can.

Of macaques and other things: a photo collection of the trip to New Israel

By Kert


They’re not bombing Palestine, I swear!


The macaque outpost. “Go away, dog.”


Om Nom Nom Nom


Fallen disciples


Our vantage point


The dog we made friends with. He’s really smart. I think I’ll call him Kevin.

Note: All of these photos can be found in my flickr account, alon89