A visitor to GetRealPhilippines.com sent a letter by email dated 31 October 2005 that, in a nutshell, best describes the whole problem with our society’s regard for the youth. Here is an excerpt:
we filipinos are so hypocrete. we live on lies and half truth.
when I was a kid (am now 40 [years old]) our elders never give us straight answer. one day while playing to my female friend, we were both taking a bath (nude and I was 5 [years old]) I shout “ay pepe” [referring to my friend’s privates, and] my aunt scolded me for saying bad words.
another was, when I ask my aunt again how did I come out in this world. and without hesitation she said “galing ka sa puwet” [you came from the rectum].
there’s a lot more lies and half truth i learn from my elders, when we went to US at my age of 10 [years old], I was so surprised how ordinary folks explain everything as if am talking to them as the same age as mine. up to now am still wandering why we filipinos doesnt treat kids as intellectual and the future of our country, in the philippines, youth are deprive of ideas what is better for them.
If you will pardon the grammatical and spelling errors of the text, you will find that this person’s message comes straight from the heart.
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It seems that at an early age, Filipinos are already systematically desensitised to lies and half-truths. How then can we presume to build a society underpinned by a continuous effort to acquire the truth? If we do not find joy in the inquisitiveness of our children and do not dignify their questions with well thought-out answers, isn’t it a bit hypocritical of us to expect our own leaders to respect the concerns and objections we raise? A very simple challenge I routinely field in Filipino on-line discussion forums — cite specific points that substantiate whatever hope of a prosperous future we may harbour — is routinely met with scorn and condescension. It is a question a child could have asked of a typical “nationalistic” sloganeer encouraging his fellow compatriots to have “hope”.
Hope in what exactly?
We seek comfort in the idea that there is hope in seeing a prosperous Philippines someday but balk at responding to a childlike inquiry on what exactly the basis of this hope is. Even more bizarre, we are quick to latch on to the empty promises of the next politician heckling a sitting incumbent from the streets. Hope in the Philippines it seems rests on nothing else but the shoulders of the very politicians Filipinos love to hate.
We are indeed hard-pressed to find things to substantiate hope that the Philippines will be a prosperous country someday. I have issued the substantiate-our-hope challenge so many times and very few if any have come up with a convincing response. Notwithstanding all this, I believe the rock on which Filipinos can potentially build any semblance of hope for a better future is the youth. However I say “potentially” because the Filipino youth is certainly not going to be the next hero that will gallop in on horseback from the horizon anytime soon. Like anything else, they are an asset that needs to be developed. This requires foresight, a bit more in fact than what we are known to exercise routinely. Our regard for the youth needs to change, and our investment in them stepped up. The starting points are obvious. Spending on public education is amongst the lowest in the region and our entertainment industry is feeding them junk. We ourselves should stop feeding them the lies and half-truths we have become accustomed to in our own youth and teach today’s youth to demand the truth and critically evaluate situations for what they are.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.