Comparative Forms of Selected ASEAN and European Governments
Based on their constitutions, I prepared a comparative list of governments of selected European countries and South East Asian nations.
1. The French system is quasi- or semi-presidential and semi-parliamentary, with a bicameral form of legislature and a unitary political system.
2. Germany is parliamentary, federal, and bicameral in nature. Real executive power rests on the Federal Government composed of the Federal Chancellor and the Federal Ministers. The Federal President acts as the titular head performing ceremonial functions.
3. The British system is likewise parliamentary but unitary with a bicameral form of legislature. The Queen, who is regarded as the symbol of unity and the ceremonial head of the state, is vested with executive power. But the Queen exercises her executive authority through the Prime Minister and the Ministry.
4. Singapore, among the four selected ASEAN governments I studied, stands out as the only Republican government with the President as head of state. The rest—Brunei, Malaysia, and Thailand—are monarchial in form with the monarch serving as the ceremonial head of state.
5. The monarchies of Brunei, Malaysia, and Thailand are limited—also referred to as constitutional—with the monarch governing according to the laws of the land.
6. But in Brunei, the Sultan exercises real unlimited powers in spite of a provision restricting him to govern the Monarchy in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and also to consult the Council of Ministers.
7. Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand exhibit a parliamentary form of government—also called the cabinet system of government—with real executive authority vested on the Prime Minister and his cabinet.
8. Brunei cannot be classified as either presidential or parliamentary, though in principle it approximates the parliamentary system of government in the sense that, in addition to the Sultan, it provides for the position of the Prime Minister. In reality, however, the Sultan and the Prime Minister are one and the same person
9. Malaysia has a federal system and the powers and functions of the government are divided between the federal government and the component units consisting of 16 federal states and two separate federal territories (as of 1995).
10. Singapore, Thailand, and Brunei have a unitary political system implying that there is one supreme central or national government.
11. The Philippines is not included in my research. It is currently in the process of making up its mind whether to change into a federal system or not.
During the Martial Law years, the government provides a position for the Prime Minister. Within the country, we can see the influence of both the Athenians and Spartans either vying for power and control over the people or giving power and authority to the people.
The great majority of the people, whose trust and confidence rating towards President Duterte has been steadily growing fast since he took office, remains silent and would rather go where the President will lead them.
Incidentally, ASEAN is on its 55th year today, having been founded on August 8, 1967. It is comprised of the following countries:
Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Timor-Leste, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
My wish for all the success to the new Administration. I’m always willing to offer my services for the future of our country and the entire Filipino people.
Gender-Based Model of Leadership and Governance
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – March 14, 2021
Women leadership in many developing countrieshas attracted many headlines in the past, but largely because of political brouhahas. They get very little attention in the academic circles in terms of studying their performance vis-á-vis their male counterparts. Maybe because they are precisely that…WOMEN… After all, we are living in a highly male-chauvinist society. We can only learn from the studies conducted abroad. Countries led by women in the past two years include:
1. Germany – Chancellor Angela Merkel
2. New Zealand – PM Jacinda Ardern
3. Denmark – PM Mette Frederiksen
4. Taiwan – President Tsai Ing-wen (ROC)
5. Finland – Prime Minister Sanna Marin
6. Austria - Chancellor Brigitte Bierlein
7. Belgium - Sophie Wilmés
8. Denmark - Mette Frederiksen
9. Greece –Incumbent President Katerina Sakellaropoulou
10. Iceland - Prime Minister Katrin Jacobsdóttir
11. United Kingdom – Theresa May
12. Myanmar – State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi
13. Nepal – President Bidya Devi Bhandari
Other women leaders include:
14. Prime Minister Mai Sandhu of Moldova,
15. President Zuzana Caputova of Slovakia
16. President Jeanine Añez of Bolivia,
17. PM Rose Christian Raponda of Gabon,
18. PM Victoire Tomegah Dogbé of Togo,
19. Acting President Vjosa Osmani of Kosovo,
20. PM Ingrida Simonyte of Lithuania,
21. President Maia Sandhu of Moldova, and
22. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas of Estonia.
A study conducted in 194 countries and published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) and the World Economic Forum (WEF), suggests that success based on gender difference is real in favor of women. According to CEPR and WEF, this “may be explained by the proactive and coordinated policy responses” adopted by female leaders. A similar study between female and male leaders, conducted in the U.S.A., proved conclusively that the case for the relative success of female leaders was only strengthened. By extrapolation, this could also be true if a similar study is made in the case of the Philippines. Here are some conclusions I gathered from my research:
“Our results clearly indicate that women leaders reacted more quickly and decisively in the face of potential fatalities,” said Supriya Garikipati, a developmental economist at Liverpool University, co-author with Reading University’s Uma Kambhampati.
“In almost all cases, they locked down earlier than male leaders in similar circumstances. While this may have longer-term economic implications, it has certainly helped these countries to save lives, as evidenced by the significantly lower number of deaths in these countries.”
A study was made in August 2020 to respond to their performance during the pandemic to know what constitutes good leadership, who has performed better, and which countries have been worse. The result: “One pattern that emerged early on was that female leaders were seen to have handled the crisis remarkably well….Whether it has been New Zealand under Jacinda Ardern or Taiwan under the presidency of Tsai Ing-Wen or Germany under Angela Merkel, female-led countries have been held up as examples of how to manage a pandemic.”
I would venture to say here that the gender-based model could be adopted also to respond to the issue of corruption. It is not a guarantee for success since we also found many women leaders in the past whose administration were deeply ridden with corruption. Maybe we can strike a gender balance. How about a 51-49 male-female ratio. After all, the world statistical survey always come up with that ratio (+/-3) every population census. In the absence of other global population survey, we may just have to ride along with this statistics.
Well, I have expressed my views. I’m sure you have your own. Whatever it is, good luck to all of us, again.
The Role of Women in the Church Remains Controversial to this Day
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – January 3, 2021
Very little is known about Mary Magdalene. The New Testament mentions her just 12 times. But they're so central to the story of Jesus, and they've filled our imagination for centuries. Whatever little known about Mary speaks of her as:
1. The sinner who became the most devoted follower of Jesus. She followed Jesus all the way from Galilee to Jerusalem, all the way to the cross, when most of his apostles and followers fled away in hiding for fear that they might also be arrested and crucified with Jesus. Mary was a true follower, believer, and committed to Jesus.
2. One of the most compelling figures in the entire gospel, but the most misunderstood woman in the Bible. Known as the penitent prostitute. Yet there was another Mary in the life of Jesus who anointed him with oil.
3. The first witness to whom Jesus appeared after his crucifixion and resurrection, earning her the title as the truly follower of Jesus and the first Christian.
For many Christians today Mary Magdalene is revered for her compassionate love for Jesus. Jesus meant everything to Mary. But when it comes to the details of her life, the Bible says very little of her.
The most enduring one is that she was a fallen woman, a prostitute saved by Jesus from a life of sin. All four canonical gospels, Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John tell of a story in which a woman came to Jesus, and anoints his feet with expensive perfume.
But none of these gospels identified that woman as Mary Magdalene. Her anointing of his feet was a symbol of penitence and forgiveness. But she was wrongly described as the prostitute.
How then did Mary's name come to be wrongly associated?
The answer can be found six centuries later when Pope Gregory the Great gave a homily in which he equated Mary Magdalene with the sinful woman who anointed Jesus's feet. And since then Christians have thought that Mary Magdalene was indeed a prostitute.
Jesus performed his activities, miracles, teachings in the Sea of Galilee. One of the coastal villages is Magdala. Mary Magdalene means Mary of Magdala.
She was not a typical Jewish woman of her time. Most Jewish women in the Galilee would have been in some kind of a domestic setting as a daughter, a mother, or a wife. But to be out in the wilderness with an itinerant preacher, with a name that does not link her to any man, was unusual.
But in the case of Mary, it seems her role goes well beyond that of a simple spiritual follower. She was supporting Jesus. She must have been a business woman.
One of the things Mary brought to the Jesus movement was money. She had resources. She was one of several women who actually helped support Jesus, who provided for him during his mission.
Jesus was trying to reach out to women. So, he was naturally going to have been looking for influential women in the community who had that credibility and fame. This came only from the business sector.
Mary followed Jesus during many months that he preached in Galilee. Yet for all her central role, at the time of the resurrection, Mary disappeared from the story of the early church.
What happened to Mary Magdalene after the resurrection?
An astonishing discovery made in Egypt in 1945 points to one shocking answer. The discovery suggests that what we call Christianity is a really a small slice of what these traditions were. It was a much wider field in the beginning.
Though known as gospels, they were not in the bible. They were written by different authors not from the New Testament. They depict a growing tension between Mary Magdalene and Jesus's other followers.
This can be gleaned from the gospels of Thomas and Philip.
The gospel of Thomas suggests that Mary's role among the disciples was deeply resented by some of them, particularly Peter. Peter is described as irate and hot-headed, bad- tempered, and somebody that was a difficult person.
Peter vented his resentment against Mary. Peter said to Jesus: "Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of life! Because she's a woman, and not worthy of spiritual life.”
This is similar to the Jewish tradition that women aren't supposed to be taught the Torah.
But in the early-Christian communities, for the most part, the missionaries were missionary couples. So it makes sense that Jesus himself could have been part of a missionary couple. As a first-century Jewish man, it would have been incredibly likely that Jesus would have been married during his lifetime.
And there's one page in particular that excites researchers. There are two moments in the gospel of Philip that really say something interesting about their relationship.
One is that Jesus referred to Mary Magdalene as his companion, or consort. It says explicitly that Jesus loved Mary Magdalene more than the other disciples.
And there's another moment where Jesus kissed her. So if Jesus, the son of God, was married, maybe he had children. That means there might be people wandering around today with royal blood in them from Jesus.
Dan Brown and the Da Vinci Code quote this passage from the gospel of Philip, saying that Jesus loved Mary Magdalene more than the other disciples, and used to kiss her often on the mouth or on the lips.
But we don't know where he kissed Mary Magdalene because of the missing lines in the gospel.
In 1896 a German scholar purchased an ancient book, languishing in the Egyptian museum in Berlin until it was finally published in 1955. It revealed to be the gospel of Mary.
Could this extraordinary lost gospel throw light on the mystery of Mary's disappearance after the resurrection?
The gospel picks up Mary Magdalene's story right after Jesus has risen from the dead.
"I have seen the Lord", she said, to which Peter answered: "Tell us the words of the saviour which you remember. What we know, but we do not, nor have we heard them."
Mary answered: "What is hidden from you, I will proclaim to you."
The key point is that Mary was the instructor. She was the teacher and the revealer to the apostles and other disciples. She was somebody with authority, so much so that it troubles the male disciples.
Mary Magdalene admonished the Apostles: "Do not weep, nor grieve nor be irresolute, for His grace will protect you, and will entirely be with you for he has ...." and so on.
Once Mary finished instructing, a full-scale argument breaks out between Mary and Peter. Did Jesus prefer her to us?
Peter resented Mary giving the instructions. "What do you think?", asked Mary. "That I made this up in my heart, or that I am lying about the savior?"
This is clearly a fight between the disciples for supremacy, for who is going to be the chief disciple, and who properly carries on Jesus' teachings and mission.
Peter might have felt that it was his rightful role to be the leader, and it might very well had to do more so with the fact that he was a man than any other factor.
The conclusion of this gospel is that Mary was the primary disciple, more than Peter, and that she should be teaching the message, she should be preaching, like the men.
And at the end of the gospel of Mary, she goes out and preaches with the rest of them.
The gospel of Mary Magdalene is the only known gospel that depicts Mary Magdalene as a leader in the early Church.
But how seriously should we take this as a record of actual events?
Mary Magdalene did not write this gospel. It can be gleaned from the style of the text, from the language and vocabulary that was used. It dates to the middle of the second century, and by that time the historical Mary Magdalene was long gone.
But even if this can't be taken as a serious historical record, it points at something else: a possible dispute over the role of women in the early church, particularly the tension between male and female leaders in the church.
The gospel of Mary shows that early-Christians were trying to hash out what really the role of women was in the church, what the role of the Apostles were, whether the Jesus' movement should only be men.
Over time, what we see is women being pushed from a very central role in church organization and leadership to a sort of marginal figures on the side lines.
Notes: Men, you have a lot of explanations to do. This is why there's so much masculine energy running our world. You need to give way to balance masculinity and feminity. How? Well start with your family and it will create a butterfly effect on society.
All Ideologies are the Same
Whether communism, socialism, capitalism, or religion, they're all the same. They fight and kill one another exploiting the poor, keeping them continually jobless, hungry, illiterate, dependent, and jobless in order to preserve the wealth and security of the few power holders. Yet, the Cosmos allow all this to happen ... chaos, disorder, and violence in the Cosmos which is supposed to mean order, harmony, peace, beauty, and love. Why do you think all these things happen?