« Maturapalooza! (With Brian Donlevy) | Main | Pig's Ear »

April 09, 2006



Poor Pig! Just think of Babe saying, "I want my mom!"


"Sadly, it used to be beautiful, but all the Spanish-era buildings (and everything else) were destroyed by bombardment during WWII, whether from the Japanese or the US it's hard to say."

Manila was declared a open city at the beginning of WWII by the Philippine government; the Japanese bombed it anyway. Then in 1945, the Japanese Navy overruled the Japanese Army, which considered Manila indefensible. The old city, Intramuros, was where they made their last stand, blowing up all their old positions as they slowly got bottled up inside the walls. MacArthur -- to his regret, because for all his faults (and there were many), he did love Manila -- knocked it down with artillery.

And Imelda as governor of Metro Manila didn't help either. Anyway.


Belle, I’d been waiting to read about your trip, because what you call “a peculiarly intimate” relationship between employer and employee not only intrigues me at a human level but is part of a current research project I’m involved in, with my new research centre (http://www.cespi.it/SCMeng.htm). We’re looking at transnational welfare and care drain. Specifically, I’m interviewing Ukrainian women in Italy and their family members at home, as well as local social services and stakeholders in both receiving and sending towns. As part of this research, I was in Milan last week for the presentation of a research project focusing on the Philippines. There is a lot of work done on these families, both by post-feminist writers like Rachel Salazar Parrenas and by Catholic researchers. In fact, the Milan research was heavily influenced by Catholic ideas (see a relevant report at www.smc.org.ph/heartsapart/pdfs/Hearts%20Apart.pdf). A lot of the issues you raise are well documented in literature (remittance waste, etc.). There also seems to be an ethical issue in so much investment in education: all these jobs are for the foreign job market, and prepare for emigration. The bloated education system is driven by remittances and does not educate for the internal market. At the same time, agencies – even nurse-recruitment for Western countries – systematically place Filipino nurses in jobs which are below their educational level, after promising nursing or other such jobs.
The literature on Filipino workers concurs that while most overseas jobs have their dignity, domestic work is a humiliating job and workers – especially men - often hide the true nature of their work from their families. When you wrote that you were going, I wondered what it meant for Tena to present herself so explicitly as a “domestic worker” – with you in tow – rather than as a breadwinner. Filipinos are so consensual and avoid open conflict like the plague… How did you address this issue?


Damn. Woof, have you changed your address to your new org? 'Cause me and my co-author are approaching the same issues from a different viewpoint, and I'd love to pick your brain... gently, of course, using only tools made of soft plastic.


I never post my real e-mail. Write to me at j(dot)chaloff(at)gmail(dot)com


hough it lacked a seat or back, Zoë thought it superior in one respect: you can flush it at will by pouring water from the bucket (used both for scooping out water to clean oneself after using the toilet and for taking baths), and don't have to wait around for the toilet tank to refill.

Actually, I think you should be able to flush almsot any flushing toilet that way. It's the geometry of the bowl that creates the suction-flush once doused with water---the tank simply makes it simple to dump that much water in the bowl all at once.

Noel Maurer

This is fascinating. Carlos and I are hammering away at an HBS case on the Philippines, focussing, of course, on the OFW phenomenon.

I can see class now. "So, isn't the Philippines just like McKinsey?"

Anyway, it's a deeply interesting country. And a deeply depressing one, since you just can't walk away from the place without thinking that after fifty years there we just should have done ... better.

So, please, Belle and Woof, I'd like to hear more.


"Part of the fun was that she was such an object of unusual interest."

Actually that's what is making life in Sulawesi pretty much hell for our kids. Much staring and pinching, even after 5 months here. They hate it.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Wow, that photo's enough to return this former vegetarian to his ethical-veganism roots. I mean, he's winking at us.


Not at us , at you, Squat. He recognizes his cuz'.

Scott Eric Kaufman

Wow, you're trolling at midnight on Sunday. I truly and sincerely thank you for taking a break from all your Quine-loving lady friends to grace us with your presence. 'Cause you know how much we love you...and we feel your love us.

By the way, how's Right Said doing these day?


my car gets 40 rods to the hog's head and that's the way i likes it!


What I want to know is--what do they do with the pigs' heads? Do they make souse, or scrapple, or something like either of those?

Gary Farber

"The main reason why the Philippines fares so badly in the tourism stakes compared to Thailand is bad government, I think."

I'm no expert on Thailand, and the only Thai guy I've ever known is a certain Somtow, but I don't exactly read a lot in the news in recent years about fine, upstanding, good government in Thailand. Just sayin'.

"I guess my well-founded hatred of MacArthur was causing bias."

The Japanese bombing wouldn't have gone so well, at the start -- for a little while, if MacArthur hadn't conveniently left all his planes out to be bombed, even after having warning of Japanese attack. So blame him for that.

Also for saying the Chinese would never attack in Korea.

And throw in the Bonus March, too. Just because.


Actually, the brother-in-law's method is pretty typical for cabbies. Surowiecki had a piece in the New Yorker about 3 years ago describing NYC cabbies' irrational economic behavior: On good nights, they knock off early, and on bad nights they keep trolling for fares, hoping to reach some magical plateau. Just more evidence that simplistic economic models don't describe human behavior very well.

happy person

Hi Mrs Holbo,
just wanted to say thank you for showing me that there are and can be, intimate relationships between a domestic helper and her "mam".. some people burn, starve and abuse their helpers, some people treat them worse than slaves, some people even rape their helpers.. your relationship with your helper is really heartwarming.. the extent you go to love and care for her is something that every singaporean "mam" should model. :) cheers!!

belle waring

thanks a lot, happy person!

The comments to this entry are closed.

Email John & Belle

  • he.jpgjholbo-at-mac-dot-com
  • she.jpgbbwaring-at-yahoo-dot-com

Google J&B

J&B Archives

Buy Reason and Persuasion!

S&O @ J&B

  • www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing items in a set called Squid and Owl. Make your own badge here.

Reason and Persuasion Illustrations

  • www.flickr.com

J&B Have A Tipjar

  • Search Now:

  • Buy a couple books, we get a couple bucks.
Blog powered by Typepad

J&B Have A Comment Policy

  • This edited version of our comment policy is effective as of May 10, 2006.

    By publishing a comment to this blog you are granting its proprietors, John Holbo and Belle Waring, the right to republish that comment in any way shape or form they see fit.

    Severable from the above, and to the extent permitted by law, you hereby agree to the following as well: by leaving a comment you grant to the proprietors the right to release ALL your comments to this blog under this Creative Commons license (attribution 2.5). This license allows copying, derivative works, and commercial use.

    Severable from the above, and to the extent permitted by law, you are also granting to this blog's proprietors the right to so release any and all comments you may make to any OTHER blog at any time. This is retroactive. By publishing ANY comment to this blog, you thereby grant to the proprietors of this blog the right to release any of your comments (made to any blog, at any time, past, present or future) under the terms of the above CC license.

    Posting a comment constitutes consent to the following choice of law and choice of venue governing any disputes arising under this licensing arrangement: such disputes shall be adjudicated according to Canadian law and in the courts of Singapore.

    If you do NOT agree to these terms, for pete's sake do NOT leave a comment. It's that simple.

  • Confused by our comment policy?

    We're testing a strong CC license as a form of troll repellant. Does that sound strange? Read this thread. (I know, it's long. Keep scrolling. Further. Further. Ah, there.) So basically, we figure trolls will recognize that selling coffee cups and t-shirts is the best revenge, and will keep away. If we're wrong about that, at least someone can still sell the cups and shirts. (Sigh.)