South China Sea No More

The thoughts that follow were first shared with friends over at Facebook in response to this article about the renaming of the South China Sea to West Philippine Sea upon the order of Pres. Benigno Aquino.

This renaming reminds me that geography is also political, that perception, sentiment, and power influence the discipline as in the way geography was used in the expansion of Europe’s imperial powers. Nothing depicts the Eurocentric bent of the past better than maps that located Europe at the center of the world.

Then again, China was an even earlier imperial presence in Southeast Asia. Some of our own indigenous societies paid tribute to the Chinese emperor. But that they should continue to assert their imperial dominance over us in these modern times is to me, the galling and damning act.

But then again, that the age of imperialism ended is after all the big lie. With our continued neo-colonial relations with the U.S., the Philippine experience of imperialism never really ended. And now, here is China, a returning and recovering imperialist come back into our shores and imposing its will upon us again.


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