By Raymund Fernandez September 13,2017


Young people teach me about gaming the system. That it’s all about understanding how the system works; finding out the intricacy of its rules, its architecture; and once having understood these, knowing how to use this to find even the slightest advantage.

The object is, of course, to win. More to the point, to not get that one last final message: Game Over.

Very simple really. The reason why the game falls under the general category of information is that it is all about language and its exchange. One replies to a previous statement. When one plays the computer, one responds to the information the computer gives you.

Where the game will go depends on the specific response of the players.

The tree diagram and the flow chart give us a figurative view of how the system works. But the machine only reflects human logic. The machine has still to equal the simple, if bungling, elegance of human logic.

Now is a good time to reflect on this game being played before us.

The game reveals something clearly unraveling before our eyes. Our eyes look not just through one but many media. But if once we believed, history repeats itself, we ought now to correct ourselves.

We have not been here before.

This game will not be played the same way we are used to. Certain rules remain the same.

Otherwise, the rules have become entirely different.

The game is still about power and politics.

But one knows how this game weaves through the entire complex of human institutions we call society. We know it follows after a logical narrative of history.

We know it when these complex of institutions become a powder keg. There is a smell in the air.

One quite familiar to older people who have gone through martial law, its downfall, two People Power events, and then the historical lulls after that, all the way to now.

Once again, the smell. I smelled it when I watched the proceedings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee where one, Paulo Duterte and his cohorts, showed up to testify.

The drama started with a discussion of karma between the President’s son and his nemesis, Senator Antonio Trillanes — clear statements of machismo between the combatants.

The karma theme has been in vogue lately among trolls in social media.

They show their misunderstanding of the concept by saying good karma or bad karma.

There are no such things as good or bad karma.

There is only karma as if it is a primordial and inescapable rule of the universe.

The term, “every dog has its time” seems the closer to being meaningful. But that is closer to the Bisaya principle of “gaba,” which word is more highly recommended over the difficult principle of karma. Otherwise, the Asian gods roll in their graves.

As it came to pass, Trillanes suggested the presence of a tattoo on the back of Paolo Duterte. Which tattoo purportedly proves his membership to the Triad, the ancient Asian cult now involved in crime, especially drugs and smuggling. To disprove, even ridicule, Trillanes’ claim would have been as easy as taking off his shirt. But the answer was, “No way.”

And then there was the claim of Trillanes of secret bank accounts, which equally, would have been as easily disproven, even ridiculed, by signing a waiver of bank secrecy laws vis the particular bank accounts listed by Trillanes. Again, the answer was, “No way.”

And then we were reminded of a secret envelope on the floor of the Senate once, many years ago, which the accused refused to have opened. A particular smell preceded the inescapable events that followed. A government fell. For the then sitting president, it was quickly in a snap: “Game Over.”

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