All posts filed under: Class

Editorial: Burying “heroes” and memories

Susan comes from a small rural village in the Visayas.  Her family lives a hand-to-mouth existence, tilling soil that is not theirs.  In September 1972, when Marcos declared martial law, and in the years that followed, their lives carried on as usual.  Martial law merely passed them by with nary a scrape.  With vague recollections of that period, it comes as no surprise that Susan’s family feels nothing towards the issue of Marcos’ burial in the Libingan ng mga Bayani. Susan herself, despite a first year college education, believes that the burial is just and right for one who has been president of the country. Susan’s reactions resonate with the throng of commenters on social media who feel strongly that Ferdinand Marcos is a hero. Some would label them as ‘ignorantly deluded,’ much like the holocaust deniers who believe that the holocaust was a figment of the German Jews’ imaginations, an event created to justify the subsequent occupation of Palestinian territories in Israel. But one cannot simply deny the murder of more than six million …

Unveiling the truth about “women in poverty” in contemporary Japan

Atsumi is twenty-three years old. She has been living in an Internet-Café for two months. She works as a waitress at a coffeehouse, but she may lose the job if the owner finds that she has become homeless. When she was in high school, her father died of cancer, her mother left her, and she withdrew from school. A loan shark has been chasing her after the first loan. She has scarcely been surviving alone (Suzuki 2014: 16-36). Introduction It was in 2015 that the “hinkon joshi,”or women in poverty, which include the likes of Atsumi, suddenly gained public attention in Japan. A documentary by NHK discussed the shocking fact that a third of working women in Japan were poor. Even if they marry, becoming a “wife” would not give them any advantage in contemporary Japanese society; matrimony has not become a realistic measure for women to escape from poverty (NHK Research Group 2014: 64-65). This feminization of poverty is worrying for a country suffering from a declining birth rate. In this essay, I will …

Bakugai: Chinese Tourists’ Explosive Shopping Spree in Japan

According to a report by the Japan Times, the word “Bakugai” won the grand prize for the most memorable Japanese buzzword of 2015. Bakugai literally means “explosive buying.” It refers to the astonishing shopping spree carried out by Chinese tourists travelling to Japan. The Japan Times explains the popularity of the term as due largely to the record-level shopping sprees of Chinese tourists. I thus attempt to analyze this phenomenon from a sociological perspective. The social factors that contribute to the occurrence of Bakugai include the following: i) the rise of the Chinese nouveau riche class; ii) the quality of Japanese commodities and services; iii) the complicated Chinese tax system; iv) the devaluation of the Japanese yen; and v) the relaxed visa policies towards Chinese tourists. The striking economic achievements of the Chinese government have prompted the creation of a new upper and middle class in China. From a sociological perspective, social closure in Chinese society today is relatively weak. The pursuit of a market economy and support by the government has led to greater social mobility …

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Have a cup of Christmas

The protest that ensued from such a plain design tells us of the determination of some groups to impose their beliefs and interpretations on others and the stubbornness in thinking that one way of life holds true over other ways of life. While the Starbucks cup non-issue might appear trivial amidst the troubles of the world, we can see it as an invitation to reflect on the reasons for why we celebrate, or think we should celebrate, certain events.

Annyeonghaseyo: Reflections of a Korean in the Philippines

My journey of living in a foreign land commenced last March. The scorching, tropical weather seemed to foretell imminent experiences in the Philippines but my heart was overflowing with unmitigated zeal and confidence. Challenges, after all, make life more dynamic and provide pivotal experiences to make one stronger. Even though I am a mere student at the Ateneo de Manila University under the auspices of my parents, I realized that I am taking on more roles. Studying abroad has enabled me not only to see myself in relation to Filipinos, but also to be cognizant of the broader international relations between South Korea and the Philippines. This essay is a reflection on Koreans as a subcultural group in the Philippines. A subculture can be defined as a group of people who share ways of life distinct from the mainstream but do not transgress the social rules, beliefs, norms, and values of mainstream society. Koreans living in the Philippines are regarded as a subculture because, while they take part in Philippine culture as residents of the country, …