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 Social Revolution in Southeast Asia. Is it?
SOCIO-CULTURE Philippines

Social Revolution in Southeast Asia. Is it?

 

SOON after the election of President Rodrigo Roa Duterte of the Philippines, he ushered in a social revolution which is now surging in other Southeast Asian countries, including Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Myanmar, South Korea, and even China, India, and Japan. 

Just like here in the Philippines, where President Duterte won a great majority of voters, the young, the rich and poor, the middle class, and netizens, who used the internet, the Facebook, and the Twitter to catapult him to power, the peoples of those other Southeast Asia nations also used the social media to air their concerns, grievances and appeals to the powers-that-be.

Where over 700 years ago, Thailand’s King Ramkhammhaeng used to hung a bell at his palace gate which subjects seeking justice could ring any time, but today Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen invites Cambodian citizens to air their concerns on his Facebook page.

In Vietnam, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc was obliged to apologize after a dozen blue-plated official limousines were exposed on Facebook violating a pedestrian precinct in Hoi An.

Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono had to issue two emergency regulations restoring the public’s right to vote for mayors and governors. Parliament’s cancellation of that right sparked a trending topic on Twitter that allowed netizens to vent outrage.

With all these tales of accountability, a tectonic plate has indeed shifted in national dialogues, even under repressive regimes in the Asian region. 

And riding the wave of information technology, Asian peoples find themselves to communicate collective ideas, intents, desires, frustrations, identities, resentments, tastes and consumption preferences as never before. 

The gathering storm, which is much more than apps, restaurant, shopping or fashion tips, and unrelated pads like “Pokemon Go”, is spreading naturally through a wired generation that does what it does without consciously being revolutionary.

Indeed, Facebook, for instance, has transformed how people access information and connect them with others. The days, when radio and TV stations as the only sources of news, are indeed gone. People are now leapfrogging from no telecommunications at all straight to cheap but functional smart phones from China and India. 

Of course, the consequences are not all good, and governments are both threatened and empowered themselves. As they struggle in the hidden reaches of this irresistible undercurrent, they are also getting to hear more intimately than ever before how the governed themselves actually feel and what occupies them. 

Naturally, on this two-way street, insecure and corrupt government governments, fearful of disorder, do not always like what they encounter! 

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Obviously, the phenomenon of social media has completely changed with the increase in internet access.

As Richard Morgan, author of “Altered Carbon” recent explained, “we are now living in science fiction times. If you look at the technology, we have 
all got our hands on smart phones, these are things that e even five or ten years ago would have seemed science fictional, and they now just part and parcel of day-to-day experience.

Internet evangelists focus on the real opportunities these technological vaults offer. At a town hall meeting in California, with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, India Prime Minister Narenda Modi reportedly equated social media to voting on a daily basis ---effectively removing the gap between government and people. The government, he said, could now correct itself every five minutes rather than every five years at election time!

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Indeed, the Philippines, under President Duterte, leads Asia in economic growth in the third quarter. 

It is the standout performer in Asia, as the economy continued to grow strongly in the third quarter. As reported by CNN Philippines, “the gross domestic product (GDP) --- the broadest measure of the economy --- grew by 7.1 percent in the third quarter, far outpacing the 6.2 percent notched the year before, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) showed. In the first nine months of 2016. GDP growth averaged 7 percent, right at the high end of the government’s 6-7 percent target.”

This shows that the country is the fastest-growing economy in Asia so far, beating Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and even China in the third quarter! 

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It’s dismaying that even after the burial of the late President Ferdinand E. Marcos at the Libigan ng mga Bayani (LNMB), in compliance with the law and an order of the Supreme Court, there are still those who continue to raise their voices against it and some even want to exhume the remains of Marcos.

For God’s sake, why can’t they allow him to rest in peace. 
 

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