6/30/2016
Continuity

When it became clear that Rodrigo Duterte was going to be president, the country was essentially split. There's the half, give or take, who celebrated the win, claiming that change has indeed come to the Philippines, that only good things could come to it now that the mayor from Davao is going to be in charge. There's the half, give or take, who despaired the losses that's definitely coming our way - investors losing confidence, successes losing traction, freedoms losing its existence altogether.

It all really came down to one choice. Do you want things to continue as it is, or do you want to change things radically?

A significant chunk of the country - while Duterte received over 40% of the popular vote, which is big in itself, it is still not a majority - voted for change, a change away from the failures of Noynoy Aquino, a change away from all that he stood for. After all, they say, why would you keep a government that's insensitive to the plight of the poor, one that bungled the response to Mamasapano, Zamboanga, Yolanda, and Luneta, one that brought the full force of the law down to its opponents, but not on its allies? Are you that stupid, they sometimes imply, to stick with that?

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6/29/2016
Tagesthemen

Some time a few weeks back, I had a think about how I would describe myself as a writer. By that, I mean how I would sell myself if I ever went freelance, not that it's in my plans, or something, or whatever.

Niko Batallones writes about supply chain, urbanism and transportation in a professional capacity, and about politics, culture and society in a personal capacity.

Okay, that looks snotty, but frankly, that covers all of it. In between all of the things I write lately - that day job, the two blogs - I really do write about a diverse, if not arguably random, range of topics. It's come to the point when I could, plausibly, make a connection between, say, local music and urban planning. Say, how urban planning is killing the live music scene. But yeah, I know people will get angry at me for saying that the live music scene is dying. You don't even go to gigs, Niko. How dare you!

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6/28/2016
Pick a number

Today, while walking on the sidewalk, I saw someone who looked just like you.

Then, inevitably, I remembered you.

Hello. Did you bite your tongue today?

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6/21/2016
You adjust!

I've been thinking of guns lately.

I mean, it's all over the news. Three high-profile (for lack of a better term) murders, one of them involving 49 casualties, all involving guns. There's singer Christina Grimmie being shot point blank after a concert in Orlando. The following day, there's that mass shooting at a gay night club, also in Orlando. A few days later, somewhere in West Yorkshire, a British MP, Jo Cox, was fatally shot and stabbed after meeting with her constituents.

I watch a lot of those late night shows. I have made a routine around it, arguably: John Oliver on Mondays, Samantha Bee on Tuesdays, Stephen Colbert and Seth Myers across the week. They themselves have pointed out - and this is before Cox's murder, although with that being a British news item it inevitably wasn't tackled as much - that there's a routine, a frustrating routine, where people start talking about gun control, about background checks, about how the National Rifle Association prevents anything from ever happening in the name of protecting the sanctity of the Second Amendment. And then nothing happens, and then something happens again. More people die, and the cycle repeats.

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6/02/2016
You misguided dreamers versus you outdated fucks

The moment it became very clear that Rodrigo Duterte will be president, there seemed to be some peace and quiet. Maybe this could be a good thing was the general sentiment, more so when the quick count showed Leni Robredo just pipping Bongbong Marcos for the second highest position in the land. That, they say, is better. Better a woman who will provide balance to the president's macho tendencies, than the son of a former dictator who, they say, should not be anywhere near an official ballot anyway.

The moment Rodrigo Duterte began setting the stage for him assuming the presidency, naming his preferred Cabinet and forcing the normally Manila-centric media to troop to Davao to listen to him speak at ungodly hours, the familiar rumbles returned. It may have seemed less toxic than the campaign season itself, but it certainly was familiar.

It's quite hard to make sense of it. Frankly, though, I say that because I have made no attempt to. I may or may not have decided to stop following the news, or at least the local side of it. It may be because I'm busy or I'm still fragile. I don't know. All I know is, some things have been said and done, and it does not sit well with everybody.

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