Antipolo, Philippines 2008

The Davao Bombing, President Duterte, and Law

This morning I saw an email in my inbox from the US embassy in the Philippines about a bombing in Davao. I signed up for the newsletter when I used to live in Antipolo, near Manila. I of course quickly did a search to see what had happened and found an article on MSN with the details of the incident. It’s not clear who set off the bomb yet, but regardless, it is a tragedy and my thoughts go out to the families who are suffering now.

I took a look at the comments section to see which direction the conversation was going. Davao is in Mindanao, an area of the Philippines where Islamic terrorist groups have a presence, including Abu Sayyaf, which is linked to Islamic State, and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (yeah, MILF, LOL). I thought I would see the usual set of comments about how all Muslims are evil and Islam is destroying the world, but the first comment, while equally ridiculous, was something I wasn’t expecting. Some guy was saying that “America” (because he was elected as our representative, apparently) supports what the new president in the Philippines is doing.

//Unfortunately, I embedded the Facebook comment on the article instead of taking a screenshot and the person who posted the original comment deleted it.

If you’re not too familiar with what’s going on in Philippines politics, the new president, Duterte, has literally encouraged police officers to kill as many people as they can, if they feel that they are criminals. If you think America as a whole supports extrajudicial killings and has no interest in the due process of law, then you are mistaken. People in the US protest constantly because they feel that they are not being given due process under the law. Black Lives Matter is just the most obvious example. Extrajudicial killings are absolutely not what America is about, and it’s a dangerous road to go down.

 

Misquoted By The New Paper

Relax – An inconvenient fee: “Another frequent budget airline traveller, Mr Bradley Farless, 28, a US citizen who is visiting Asia for work and leisure, had bought a pair of tickets from Tiger Airways for a flight from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur earlier this month.

He said: “It is not a small amount when you add it all up. And who is stopping them from increasing this amount in the future?””

When I read this I kinda just pulled one of these numbers:

Last month I was interviewed by phone by Veena Bharwani, a reporter for The New Paper.  She had initially contacted me by e-mail because of a Tweet I made expressing dissatisfaction with the amount being charged as a ‘convenience fee’ by Tiger Airways.

I have no problem with what she quoted me as saying.  I just wanted to point out that journalists should be bound by a sense of integrity, to not put quotation marks around a summarization of the writer’s views and then attribute it to another person.

Yes, I do agree that the fees are high when you add them up.  We paid a 6 dollar convenience fee per person per direction, or 24 dollars in total.  But, I didn’t use those exact words.

I never made the second statement, even passingly.  That’s the writer trying to attribute a quote to me to validate her own opinion.  It’s not even correct English.

I do agree with her assessment, because what is to stop them from raising the fees in the future, on the vague grounds of processing fees and some other such nonsense?  I want to just use Amazon.com as an example.  When’s the last time you made a purchase on Amazon.com and had a 6 dollar fee added onto your purchase for ‘convenience’?

The convenience of shopping online is that there are supposed to be less fees and less hassle.  It seems to me that these fees the airlines are charging are their way of milking customers for a few extra dollars to help them edge their bottom line higher into profits.

Here’s the fishiest part of it:  If you go to a ticketing office you can get tickets without paying the convenience fee, but you aren’t allowed to take advantage of online ‘deals’, meaning you pay more.  But, if you go online to get the ‘deal’ you have to add in the ‘convenience’ fee, which means that you’re probably paying the same as what a person at the ticket counter is paying.

In the end, what’s the difference?

But, back to the matter at hand, it would be good if people who make a living off of journalism learn to do it right.  Learn the art of paraphrasing.  Don’t put words in people’s mouths, even if it’s something positive.