As I write this, the Philippine men’s national basketball team, better known as Gilas Pilipinas, has just won against Kazakhstan in the 2014 Asian Games basketball tournament currently being held in Incheon, South Korea. According to reports, however, Gilas needed to win by eleven (11) points in order to advance to the semifinal round. They won by only two (2), therefore it seems that they will wind up being eliminated from competition.
The Gilas Pilipinas team has spent quite a bit of time in the spotlight recently, as last month they were in the FIBA World Cup where they had a record of 1-4. Now, in this Asian Games tournament, they won against India and Kazakhstan, but lost to Iran, Qatar and the host country South Korea. That’s a 2-3 record this time.
The Gilas Pilipinas team, however, is merely just one more additional notch on the wall of celebrities, athletes, or national teams who are being displayed as symbols of that ever-so-persistent phenomenon called Pinoy Pride. Apart from Gilas Pilipinas, one will find names such as Manny Pacquiao, Lea Salonga, Jessica Sanchez, Charice Pempengco, and the Azkals, to name a few.
Pinoy Pride, as I have defined before, is a hollow knee-jerk reaction by Filipinos whenever someone with a semblance of Filipino blood makes it big outside of the Philippines. One persistent argument that Pinoy Pridists keep bringing up is that whenever these celebrities “win”, they not only make the Filipinos proud to be Filipino, they “inspire” Filipinos to do or be better.
A very obvious set of questions – to those who don’t jump on the bandwagon, at least – comes up in light of this claim of inspiration:
Inspire Filipinos to do what, exactly?, and;
Where are the results of such “inspiration”?
It seems that even in the first question, most Filipinos fail to put up a convincing answer. Perhaps some would say that someday, they or their son/relative will become a great singer, or celebrity, or athlete, just like those they admire. Well and good, then.
Pinoy Pridists, though, want to take the accomplishments of an individual, or single team, and apply them as proof that the country, as a whole, is great, or important, or to be noticed/respected. In other words, they want to take credit for them as a national accomplishment. Then it also follows that the inspiration that Filipinos feel should also be present not only at the individual level, but at the national level as well.
The way Filipinos have been running their country to the ground, however, seems anything but inspired. They still fall for name recall and popularity in choosing their leaders. They let problems like thievery in government and the lack of government services grow into unmanageable messes. They treat their environment and each other with disdain. They abhor intellectual and critical discussion, and regard themselves as infallible and exempt from criticism.
The Philippines, however, needs more people who will help in the thankless and dirty work of nation building; engineers, scientists, and true statesmen are woefully in short supply here. It would be nothing short of foolish for every Filipino to dream and to be inspired to be a celebrity or singer, or an athlete. Not everyone will have the proper skills or build or even looks to qualify for such. Especially in a country like the Philippines which puts a premium on appearance, many of our countrymen will inevitably be setting themselves up for heartbreak and failure and disappointment. The heart (of a fighter), or puso, that Filipinos claim they have, will simply not be enough. They need brains too.
So once again, we ask: where are the results of the inspiration brought about by Pinoy Pride?
The readily evident answer – ZERO, nothing, zilch, nada, null, bokya, itlog.
This inspiration that Filipinos purportedly feel with every Pinoy Pride win is nothing but an anesthetic – a drug – that Filipinos instinctively administer to themselves in order to relieve the pain of the reality of their wretchedness. The Filipino way of coping with problems is to look for things to feel good about – distractions, if you will – and hope the problems go away by themselves. And yet after the feel good moment has passed, they will wake up feeling like crap and facing the reality they thought they could leave behind by ignoring.
Then, the vicious cycle starts anew.
To truly create sustainable progress and development in the Philippines, the Filipinos must break this cycle. They must face their reality head-on. They have had countless wake-up calls shoved in their face – the recent video by Aegis Malaysia being one of them. They will need to examine their society and themselves critically, and build up the resolve to change the flaws and dysfunctions which have been keeping them down all this time. Pinoy Pride is one of them.
They need to show their strength of character, self-respect, and self-esteem. Pinoy Pride and the “good vibes” thing work against a goal. Filipinos will need to come to terms with THAT reality.
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