After a brief discussion with some of my friends, we considered the idea that what if we allowed common Filipino citizens to carry guns the same way that Americans do, the “right to bear arms”, so to speak. One commenter here on GRP even mentioned it, if I remember correctly. The discussion went around for a while and we even went on to mention that it might make criminals a little more hesitant about attacking the local populace. However, later on, we came upon the conclusion that even arming the populace probably will probably do more harm than good in the long run due to mindset of Filipinos.
I have been a gun owner now for quite some time and my grandfather was dead serious about the conditions on how to handle one: Always keep it out of the reach and sight of children, always assume that it is loaded even if you think it’s unloaded, always keep the safety on unless you actually plan to use it and always take it seriously. “Guns are for killing,” my grandfather often tells me. “They’re not meant as a joke and they’re not for polishing your ego.” While I will not claim any superiority over anyone else, I will still go on to point out that over-emotionalism, a big ego and guns are surely a bad combination in the long run and Filipinos are well-known for the first two.
Now then, for a broader examination of our society, we can see that simple solutions like arming the citizenry will probably only make things worse in the long run. Simple solutions simply won’t work unless they are enacted on a large scale and enforced with firm disciplinary actions. For instance, here are some common aspects of our society that require change but need something more to be truly effective:
Jose Rizal always believed that education was key in developing a nation. Unfortunately, while this may be somewhat true, the quality of education is also important if you want to turn puling children into productive citizens. Based on what I’ve heard and read so far, many public schools remain to be fully built and furnished with many classes being held outdoors as there are simply not enough room in the school building to contain all the students. Take note that there are even people who admire this kind of practice as they say that it is “reminiscent of the way classes were held in the olden days” even though it is anything but admirable. With overstretched funds, overcrowded facilities and incompetent personnel, is it really any surprise that most of the newer generation are largely apathetic and unproductive?
Now, I do not want to bash the hard work of teachers but it’s quite clear that something is wrong when students who don’t even know how to read are allowed to graduate. That’s right, either through the intimidation of parents or the “awa” (pity) effect, students who need to sit through more lessons are allowed a free pass. Worst yet, there are even teachers out there who openly endorse the “palakasan” system and allow themselves to be bribed to give students high grades. With the growing number of “holidays” and as more and more funds are siphoned away by corrupt politicians, can we really expect the youth to develop into something noteworthy?
We can’t really expect anything out of the following generations if we maintain this kind of attitude towards the education system of the Philippines. If we can’t even implant basic skills into our youth, how can we expect them to gain the more advanced and productive skills to contribute to and improve their ailing homeland?
As I have already mentioned in various other articles, the media has changed from being the protector of the common people to the great deceiver of the masses. Even now, the media continues to corrupt the minds of our fellows, warping them into the dumb and numb hordes that continue to elect officials based on popularity rather than hard credentials. But while this may be bad in and of itself, will changing the media really have any effect on our people as a whole?
As noted by another friend, among the middle-class, there are still a wealth of options when it comes to what to watch. There is always the Discovery Channel, National Geographic and the History Channel which can certainly help people intellectually. Unfortunately, most of the middle-class would rather watch garbage like Showtime or Dyesebel anyway because it’s what’s popular today.
Then, you have your lower class who have no choice in the matter and usually only have the most uneducational channels available to them. With an already poor education system, can we really expect much from the masses if they are fed the same kind of brainwashing on a daily basis?
Simply displaying the correct information probably won’t be enough to dispel the stupidity that permeates our society. Even if there are channels that provide the right information, the correct news and with shows that stimulate the mind, none can deny that most Pinoy viewers go for the least trustworthy and least helpful of the lot. There are countless websites like Wikipedia, Tvtropes and Wiktionary that can help one’s understanding of the world but most Pinoy netizens simply go for Facebook to stalk celebrities and posture to their “friends”. So it goes to show that even with available productive options, most Pinoys will still go for the less sound choices which reveals that our troubles may run even deeper than we’d like to think.
Ah, the government.
You know, I’m a big fan of the Disgaea games by Nippon Ichi. Anyway, the game is about demons and making an army out of them but the funniest thing about it is that in almost all of its installments, there is a part where you must consult the local demonic senate to pass a bill that will benefit your army. To do this, you will need to bribe some senators with various goodies so that they will approve your bill and these goodies range from weapons, armor, alcoholic beverages, cakes or bars of gold just to name a few.
What’s really sad is that I find the senators of Disgaea (as corrupt and demonic as they may be) at least a little more trustworthy than our own. While they need to be bribed, these senators will at least approve bills that can benefit people instead of just benefiting themselves and, when thing go awry, can be beaten into submission. Compared to our petty politics who can’t even be bothered to think of the lesser people and who have gotten away clean despite being caught red-handed, these senators might even bring improvements to our country should they ever take over.
However, I should note that our government is solely responsible for the troubles that we face. It was we, the people, after all who put them in their place. It was we who played along with their ploys and believed in their otherwise implausible promises. Just because they sang and danced for us (like a Russian friend I have says: “Everyone sing and dance when they drunk. Not everyone who sing and dance know how to run country.”), we decided to vote for them because they amused us.
Now, our politicians do have a lot to answer for and need good justice for their crimes. But unless we, as a people, are willing to take action against them and select the right leaders next time, we will be forever doomed to serve scum such as these.
If we want real change for our country, the change should start with us. Let’s save the Philippines together.
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