Isko vs Sara: The battle of mayors

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 07/20/2021

“A fiction, believed in even though you know it is a fiction, can be validated only by sheer will,” wrote Harold Bloom. The literary critic, arguably the greatest of his generation, had no less than Don Quixote…

Grace Poe: The ‘centrist’ alternative?

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 07/06/2021

“People are drawn to the easy and to the easiest side of the easy,” observed Rainer Maria Rilke in “Letters to a Young Poet.” The poet then emphasized the need for us to “hold ourselves to the…

Why are we bullied?

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 06/15/2021

A few years back, when Dutertismo was still a novel ideology and hopes ran high for transformative politics, I stumbled upon an interesting comment on one of my interviews. It was posted by an overseas Filipino worker…

Why are we poor?

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 06/08/2021

In the Philippines, even the past is unpredictable. Each administration has its own version of history, often diametrically opposed to each other’s. Ignorance is partly at fault. More than three decades after the fall of the Marcos…

Populist tragedy: India, Brazil, PH

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 05/04/2021

Over the past years, from Brazil to India and the Philippines, millions of voters have placed their faith in charismatic strongmen who thrive on apocalyptic rhetoric and who promised to single-handedly address complex 21st-century challenges. Recently, however,…

Whitsun Reef: Duterte’s failed China policy

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 04/20/2021

As long as you remain meek and humble,” claimed President Duterte shortly after one of his numerous meetings with China’s leaders, “[you] will have mercy [from China].” The former-mayor-turned-president has stood by his side of that bargain.…

Dutertismo: The myth of ‘political will’

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 03/30/2021

The concept of “political will” is arguably among the most resonant catchphrases in our national discourse. And yet, the concept remains one of the most confounding and abused terms in our political lexicon. Long-time mayor Rodrigo Duterte’s…

Besieged: The Filipino middle class

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 02/23/2021

My childhood memories tend to be a patchwork of pulsating sentiments and innocent joys. These “East of Eden” days were also punctuated by tragedies and traumas, beginning with the 1990 earthquake in my hometown of Baguio. But…

The tragedy of vaccine apartheid

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 02/16/2021

No one is safe unless everyone is safe.” This is the mantra we repeatedly hear, underlining the need for universal vaccinations to fight the pandemic. And yet, the world is facing a tragically bizarre situation where healthy…

‘Dolomite populism’

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 11/17/2020

Among nations long accustomed to misgovernance, where political cynicism is a treasured pastime, former leaders are often remembered for their brazen mishaps and tragic failings. This is especially true in a country like the Philippines, where nostalgia…

Biden: 5 ways to beat populism

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 11/10/2020

Populists are powerful precisely because, in the words of novelist Hugo von Hofmannsthal, “politics is magic, he who can summon the forces from the deep, him will they follow.” Make no mistake: Populism is here to stay,…

Vietnam and the Philippines: A study in contrasts

Richard Heydarian - @inquirerdotnet 10/27/2020

All nations tend to mythologize their success and, accordingly, mystify their failures. Over the long run, what’s important above all is how each nation learns from its mistakes, recovers from failures through grit and innovation, and confidently…

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