The Philippines is undoubtedly the Roman Catholic Church’s posterboy in Asia. Whether this is actually something to be proud of or something that has hindered our development as a country is the subject of endless debates.
As Roman Catholics, followers of the faith are introduced to the Ten Commandments early into their lives. The Decalogue, as it also known, is a moral code of ten guiding principles for ethics and worship.
How about if we take inspiration from the Ten Commandments and craft a set of our own more relevant to today’s society? Why don’t we try crafting a set that aims to be applicable to a wider scope of Filipinos, whether they’re Catholic, Christian, or whatever religion or faith?
Without further ado, let me present to you the Ten Commandments of Get Real Philippines (delivered by an angel, no less).
1. Construct only rational and logical arguments
No ad hominems, reductions to the absurd, and all other logical fallacies here please.
Looking for credibility through credentials is a habit of the Filipino that needs to be suppressed. Though credentials are good, they are not the definitive measure of credibility. Examples of this are lawyers pretending to know the law but end up twisting it to suit their own needs. We must learn to listen, not just talk to everyone as a sign of respect, and because we never know what we can learn from each other.
When I say arguments, please, please do not go looking for and starting fights. That is awfully machismo and just plain stupid.
2. Develop proficiency in English
We will never tire of saying here in Get Real Post that English is the language to learn if you want to unlock and access the vast pool of knowledge available everywhere, especially the internet.
Find native speakers, practice with them. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. I dare say that developing proficiency in English will provide you with substantiated confidence that eludes most Filipinos. And no, proficiency in English does not have to mean giving up or losing whatever language or dialect you grew up with. It simply means you have to stretch your brain capacity a lot more. That’s a good thing. No pain, no gain.
3. Cultivate a healthy ego
Learn to analyze first whether the message is worth listening to first, regardless of how it was delivered. Do not revert to the balat-sibuyas life-form that does not know how to take and discern criticism.
Secondly, do away with the kapal ng mukha, or arrogant cockiness. There is no room for it in a civilized society. Even those with something to brag about underneath benefit long-term by staying humble and grounded.
Last, but not the least, ditch the attitude of “di ako pwede malamangan”, or “no one can be better than me”. This is responsible for the balato mentality, crab mentality, and the green-eyed monster called “inggit” that forever puts and keeps Filipinos pinned down.
4. Practice and develop discipline, self-reliance, critical thinking, and compliance to the law
Lee Kuan Yew built Singapore on discipline. Look where they are now.
We need to learn self-reliance because, as the best example, the OFW relative as a source of money for the Filipino is in grave danger. Self-reliance also means putting an end to Juan Tamad. We have long wanted to dispose of this image of the Filipino, have we not?
Critical thinking – Filipinos are not predisposed to this because we are a society who blindly swallow what our elders and “authorities” tell us. Even just asking questions is taken as a sign of disrespect, or interpreted as stupidity. Don’t just learn or teach your children what to think, learn and teach them how to think for themselves!
Compliance to the law – Ignorance of the law excuses no one, and no one is above the law. It is no secret that great countries are founded on strict adherence to the law. If the Filipinos want to become great, with something to show for it, they must first learn to respect the law and not turn a blind eye to violations of it.
5. NEVER tolerate mediocrity and impunity, in any way, shape, or form
The pwede-na-yan syndrome is one of the worst plagues in the Philippines because it gives them a “justified” reason to be mediocre. Its equally ubiquitous relative, bahala na syndrome, or “come what may”, is responsible for Filipinos not giving enough thought to everything they do.
A simple shift in attitude can change pwede-na-yan to pwede pa yan! kakayanin ko pa! or “I can still do more!”
The Philippines is a culture of impunity. Everyone allows everyone else to get away with wrongdoing and dishonesty. Thus it becomes the norm.
6. Stop the victim mentality
A lot has been said and written on the victim mentality that many Filipinos like to espouse. I say to you: stand up, and take your destiny into your own hands! After a brief period of reflection on what went wrong, there is no justifiable reason as to why you’re not doing anything to make things different.
7. Do not attach yourself inappropriately to another person’s individual success
“Proud to be Filipino because of (insert celebrity here).” This has got be the biggest sack of monkey crap I have ever heard.
Blind Pinoy: what did YOU do for your hero/country?
Get Realist: Did you train him? Feed him? Clothe him? Provide him shelter? Have a hand in developing his skills? Did you give him constructive criticism?!?!?
Blind Pinoy: I prayed for his success.
Get Realist: Prayer. PRAYER?! Well, guess what; your prayers do squat! Your celebrity succeeds because his/her hard work has finally paid off. If you want to be inspired by your successful celebrity, find what you want to do (aside from lying on the floor all day), get off your ass and develop your skills! And do not fall for get-rich-quick schemes! Be patient!
8. Do not become a propagator nor a user of false or unsubstantiated data
Filipinos are fond of hearsay or “tsismis”. In fact, to us it’s an even more trusted source of information than evidence itself!
Niel Tupas brazenly lied about the 45 properties. Raissa Robles sensationalized the non-issue of the “potential” Corona properties in the United states.
Verifying your data is a practice of critical thinking. Do it. If we keep relying on tsismis then everybody can be hanged.
9. Do not confuse what is popular for what is right
“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.” – Agent K, Men In Black
Stupidity spreads like a wildfire. The EDSA II and beyond were the culminations of this. President Noynoy Aquino running for President, and subsequently getting elected, was the nail in the coffin!
10. Respect your fellow man regardless of ethnicity, age, belief system, and sexual orientation
This is related to the first commandment. Here at GRP we emphasize and continually remind ourselves to focus on the message and its substance. In fact, the different point of view will enable us to form a bigger and better picture, because they may see things we locals cannot.
In essence, these “commandments” serve to develop two critical components for meaningful nation building: developing intellectual capital, and developing cultural character.
To borrow a quote: “Do not swallow your moral code in tablet form.”