After looking into the grave consequences of Filipino stupidity, let’s dive into a closely related topic: common sense for Pinoys. You really don’t have to be a holder of any college degree to apply basic common sense. Consider this awkward scenario: If you were suddenly caught naked in public, would you cover your private parts or cover your face? What if someone takes a snap shot of you and posts it on the internet? Just imagine the consequence. That could be your future career and social life down the drain.
Common sense is the basic human reasoning ability to simulate IF-THEN scenarios in your brain (or rather mind to be accurate), and having the fortitude to ACT upon it accordingly. Good decision making in life is simply about learning how to ask WHAT IF questions and weighing which option has the most advantages over others.
The Spratlys conflict: What went wrong for the Philippines?
What got the Philippines in the tight situation it is in in the first place in this entire debacle over the Spratlys? We simply failed to answer some very basic WHAT IF questions before we made major decisions.
- What if we eject the American bases from our country without considering our resources for building some credible national defense capability, how would China react?
- What if our leader fails to offer any sincere expression of apology for a bungled hostage situation involving Chinese tourists in Luneta, how would China react?
- What if our lame-duck head of state compares the Chinese leader to “Hitler”, how would China react?
The Pinoy always has to make the pathetic excuse: well I didn’t see that coming! Foresight is what differentiates successful nations and leaders from banana republics. Reviewing our history shows Pinoys have miserably failed in the test of common sense. But there isn’t much we can do with the past really. We have already dug ourselves into such a deep shithole with all the stupid decisions Filipinos (and in particular the leadership) have made. What matters now is the question: What’s Next? Okay, let’s go through some WHAT IF scenarios and practice basic common sense together:
Applying common sense by asking “What if…?”
- What if our fishermen confident of our Hague Tribunal victory go back to Scarborough Shoal and get confronted by the Chinese coast guard, leaving some of them dead? Will it not escalate the situation to a flash point of military confrontation?
- What if we sent our few little frigates into the contested waters, will it provoke China to bring out their full military muscle to intimidate us even more?
- What if we cry out to the US and ask them to return to set up bases in the Philippines, can Pinoy pride take it? And how does that make us appear in the eyes of the entire international community?
- What if we enticed the Abu Sayyaf to go out and “invade” the Spratlys in the Filipino’s behalf, how do we know it won’t degenerate into an ISIS-type piracy-infested region?
- What if we just forgot about these contested waters, since we can’t even take care of our own main territories (like evicting squatters) anyway, do we lose anything much?
- What if we unilaterally imposed a “rental fee” on China for occupying “our” islands, will they retaliate similarly?
- What if we threatened to pull out our OFWs and domestic helpers and impose a banana and mango export embargo to China until they comply with our demand to exit the Spratlys, can we endure a trade war with such an economic behemoth we depend on more for survival than they do on us?
- What if we just cool down and soften our tone of language, talk in a diplomatic manner to ease tensions, come to an agreement on what cooperation and shared rights both countries can accept, will that not give both countries a better prospect of mutual peace, stability and economic gains?
It looks like our new president Rodrigo Duterte and his stalwarts of change in the foreign affairs department are taking the road of cautious discretion and studying the best next move carefully without rashly going in berserk autistic mode in PNoy trademark dysfunctional fashion. It is best not to go on a boastful rhetoric while emotions still run high. Our current administration is well aware of reality – we are no match against China and there is no way a military option can even be entertained.
Seeking the safety of the iron wings of the American bald eagle (whom we kicked out in the first place) is as humiliating as simply going to the Chinese red dragon, admitting our weakness and expressing openness to comply with what they deem best. In fact the latter would even turn out to our greater advantage. What if by simply giving in to China, they will consider us an ally, give us a percentage of the “loot”, and start massive economic cooperation and investments in our country?
A radical approach in dealing with China
There’s a verse in the book of Matthew that may be appropriate for the situation:
But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles.
The actions of radical Christians can be very counter-intuitive. But really, shaming somebody with your kindness and unconventional reaction of giving in to demands may actually send the right signals and positive vibes that can bring two nations together instead of tearing each other apart and in pieces over what is essentially a minor bone of contention – just some negligible pieces of partially submerged rocks.
Being content with what we have
What if we just stood content with what we already have in the Spratlys? Malaysia seems to be taking it easy with the little they claim. Looking at the island distribution map, the Philippines actually already has a fair share of the Spratly islands (scroll through the link for an awesome aerial virtual tour) reflecting a claim that even goes beyond our national defense capabilities. In the real world of nations, one can only own as much as he can defend.
And what are the Spratlys to us anyway? Do any of us fail to bring home the bacon or lose a meal if we don’t have access to those reefs in the middle of nowhere? They are practically nothing to us ordinary citizens. We have enough domestic issues to fill our “to do” list. We might as well leave contending over the rest of the Spratlys to the superpowers and simply stay happy with what we still have.
Gaining China’s favor
I agree with what practical level-headed President Duterte is inclined on doing – to simply talk one-on-one with China and get some favor in exchange for keeping our mouths shut – like as he suggested, a Mindanao railway system.
China is now a world leader in rail technology: they are even competing with the likes of Japan and South Korea for bids in constructing extensive train systems around the world. Take a look at just one Chinese company:
China Railway Construction Corporation Limited. Second largest construction and engineering company in the world by revenue in 2014. CRCC Revenue 88B USD (2014) vs. Philippine annual budget 3T PHP or 64B USD (2016).
Positioning ourselves towards befriending China instead of talking as if we were some big shot in the region with nothing really to back our mouths would be in the best interest of this country. I hope our leaders and citizens will come to realize this before we start making a new round of diplomatic gaffes that could bring us into deeper trouble. I think we’ve done enough clowning around for the past 30 years. Don’t you think it’s finally time to get real?
I suspect left-leaning Duterte isn’t just courting the local reds; he could be aiming at a bigger red bull’s-eye by seeking partnership with Red China itself. Maybe the bigger question is: what if we become a “satellite province” of China? Take a look at Hong Kong now. Are you willing to accept a Philippine flag without the yellow sun in exchange for a more comfortable and decent life? It could really all just boil down to a simple choice of common sense or Pinoy pride. Let’s start asking ourselves – What if…?
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