I realise now after having read an amusing article recently published by one of the staunch apologists of President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III that there is a fundamental assumption that needs to be questioned — the notion that Filipinos actually want a “better country”.
Can Filipinos be considered to be a people who aspire to build a better Philippines?
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Certainly it cannot be said that Filipinos are lacking in a desire to be seen to be part of a “great” country. My colleagues have written extensively about the rather quaint phenomenon we call “Pinoy Pride”. The main premise behind “Pinoy Pride” is that Filipinos see it fit to feel pride on the back of the success of an exceptional set of elite Filipino individuals.
The question is: Can being “proud” to be “Pinoy” because of the achievement of an exceptional minority fuel a journey to national greatness? As GRP writer ChinoF observes, that sort of pride will never save the Philippines…
Pinoy Pride never uplifted Filipino lives. Because Pinoy Pride itself is an act to cover up Filipino failings. It is a symptom of other attitude problems, such as sense of self-entitlement, emotionalism, anti-intellectualism and love of the underdog.
Therein lies the answer to the question on whether or not the assumption that underpins certain “holistic” approaches to solving the problem of the Philippines’ bleak future as a nation is valid.
Filipinos want a great Philippines, but they do not necessarily want to make it better.
Pinoy pride overflows in Philippine society. And that tells us that Filipinos want to get from A to Z but haven’t got the foggiest clue as to how to get to B at least. And this is why the only response we get to the confronting question of What happens next? in light of all the in-your-face revelations of institutionalised thievery going on with impunity up and down the command chain in Philippine Government is a lot of head-scratching.
A lot of well-intentioned but naive calls to Filipinos to come together in the spirit of a “shared sense of responsibility” for the building of a “common enterprise” is premised on the assumption that Filipinos want to help themselves at a collective level. We can keep saying that we must be responsible and unified in a pursuit of national goals ’til the cows come home. But there is a deep chasm that separates notions of what must happen and what will happen given what is real about the character of our sad nation.
The reality is that the Filipino character is one that would delegate their aspirations and their will to attain them to heroes and celebrities in exchange for their collective opiates — bread and circuses. We’ve known for so long that Filipinos routinely get their circuses every election day. Now we know they also get their bread from the very thievery they now presume to exhibit some quaint “outrage” over.
Indeed, politicians who have been implicated in one way or another in the pork barrel scam confirm it as do the hacks who apologise in advance for what will likely be the persistence of pork over the foreseeable future. These funds, so the politicians and hacks say, are essential to “less-fortunate” Filipinos who depend on pork to fund the outcome of the unique way their representatives in Congress “understand” their specific local “needs” and, as such, abolishing pork would result in these people being “deprived” of this tender loving local “understanding” that only their honourable “representatives” in the legislature could provide.
As Albert Einstein say, you cannot solve a problem using the same thinking that created it.
A lot of “experts” on Filipino society think that the fundamental problem with the Philippines has to do with powerful people not “understanding” the problems enough “from the ground”, and that the solution on the basis of that “thinking” is to cobble together a pile of money from the national budget that can be given out to other powerful people who do “understand” these problems “from the ground”.
Indeed, the system is flawed. But I hope we will not use the thinking that created that flawed system to come up with the alternatives to replace that very system.
[Image courtesy Silicon Angle.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.