Saturday, May 12

David and Goliath

Do you know the story of David and Goliath in the bible?

It’s about a fight between a giant (named Goliath) and a small boy (named David).

This is a bit how my country feels about an issue against China.

Personally, I don’t like talking about politics. This is because two sides have their own version of the story and it’s so easy for the whole thing to get messy and lead to a misunderstanding. Or maybe I just wanna avoid any kind of conflict and argument in general.

But tension has been brewing on the South China Sea for about a month now. Interestingly, the source of this international tension is a small group of rocks in the middle of the sea. It’s just a few hectares wide and no more than 3 meters high. And it partly sinks depending on the water level.  

The Filipinos call this group of tiny islands “Scarborough Shoal” while the Chinese named them “Huangyan Island.” The two countries are locked against each other with both their claims of ownership.

China lays claim over a large part of the South China Sea, bringing it into controversy with a few other neighbors such as Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia. In the past few months, political analysts say China has become more and more assertive over the territory.

There’s a huge number of arguments about this issue. Some people measure the exact distance of the treasured spot from each country. Some people talk about maps that are hundreds of years old. Others claim that the area is very rich in oil and gas resources. Some Filipinos wanna take the issue to the International Tribunal of the Sea (ITLOS) and some Chinese reject this idea.

I don’t want to add to the large number of opinions anymore. But what I find surprising is the idea that in some public statements announcing China’s stand, there is a note of bullying and intimidation. If you are a real negative thinker, you might even say that China is looking down on the Philippines.

This idea goes against most of the principles that I believe in. I have always assumed that all international conflict can be fixed by diplomacy and the right communication. In fact, I have mentioned here on this Blog my motto that “English as an international language can B.B.B.B. ( = Break Barriers and Build Bridges) between and among nations.”

It’s sad that an issue over territory damages two countries’ long-standing history and relationship. I wish to express my hope and that of most other people – whether Chinese or Filipino - that we will all arrive at a peaceful solution soon. 

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