Stories written by Yen Makabenta

What’s in a Word? A Single Word Makes All the Difference

I have been lately mesmerized by the awesome power of words, even just a single word to alter the perception of reality, or trigger outrage.

Yolanda (Haiyan): Remembrance, Reflection and Responsibility

In the arcane world of natural disasters, names matter a great deal—not only because of history and science, but because people need them in order to remember or mourn what and whom they have lost.

On This, Church and State Agree, Population Should Grow, Not Shrink

I thought of writing this essay on population at this time when our thoughts are turned towards both the dead and the living with equal reverence.

Moment of Clarity in Marawi and the War on Terrorism

“Wars are always clarifying” is a line that I jotted down from a column in the New York Times that was written two years after the attack on the twin towers on September 11, 2001. The subject was ostensibly “9/11” and the war on terrorism that it set off (Thomas Friedman wrote the line).

Why Honesty Is Best Policy: It Feels Better

A new university research study has added a twist to the saying, “honesty is the best policy,” which has been immortalized by the Holy Bible, William Shakespeare, Benjamin Franklin and countless mothers.

In His Let-bygones-be-bygones Tour, Why Did Obama Skip the Philippines?

First read In “The Interpreter” op-ed column in the New York Times, Max Fisher reported that President Obama, during his final year in office, spent time in acknowledging United States’ misdeeds in various countries that he has visited.

Obama-Duterte Mix-up: Dopey Human-Rights Dispute Should Not Have Happened

First Read Having expounded on the “rule of law” in my previous column (“Rule of law: The principle Duterte has not trampled on,” Manila Times, September 6, 2016), I feel bound to also do the same on the subject of “human rights,” especially because the issue has driven a wedge in Philippine –American relations, and has momentarily unhinged Philippine standing in the United Nations.

Drug killings an international issue now

First ReadBecause in the first draft of this column, I used the word “Draconian” to describe the unprecedented measures that President Duterte has adopted in his war on drugs, I was led by my research to the story of Draco, from whose name the word was taken.

Dawn of a new era

‘Whatever else shall pass away, this must remain’  THIS is the standard that I privately apply to the inaugural addresses of Presidents and Prime Ministers, in this country or elsewhere. Oftentimes, the speeches just perish on the page or on the computer monitor. But a few remain and grab mind and heart, eliciting occasional recollection and quotation.