Or How the Victim Mentality Continues to Plague Our Society from the Bottom to the Top
Despite all the great leaders it has had, all the great Filipinos it has had, and all the resources it has, the Philippines is still one of the poorest countries in the world.
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From the time of Emilio Aguinaldo to Noynoy Aquino, most of our people are still born poor and will die poor.
Is this because of the system of government? Is this because of the people in that system of government? Is it because of how Filipino society is? Is it because capitalists exploit labor? Is it because of the muslims in Mindanao? Is it because of criminal syndicates? Is it because of corrupt politicians?
Really? If you think that those are the reasons why most Filipinos are poor, then, I have to say that in a lot of cases, people who believe this have been played for a fool and have been used for someone else’s agenda.
It’s a ruse really, part of the arsenal of agitators. The first thing they’ll do is to find something that you’ll get angry about — low wages, unfair treatment, corruption, injustice, and such. The next thing they’ll do is blame what you are experiencing on someone or something. After that, they’ll string you up by the nose and lead you to do any number of things which they will make you believe will solve your problems.
When I was a freshman in high school, my sociology teacher told us that the reason why the country was poor was because President Ferdinand Marcos and his friends mismanaged the economy. I didn’t know much about economy beyond what I was taught and what I understood about it, but it did make me angry to think that a few people had so much power that they could make a lot of people poor.
At home, we did experience not having enough money. Then again, my father was a government employee with a fixed salary and we were a brood of five children. We had all the modern appliances, two cars at one point, ate out often, and went to field trips out of town. We kids were all enrolled in private schools. We shopped in department stores and our mother insisted on getting us the best stuff. My father smoke, drank, and bet on horses.
So, yeah, in my mind back then, Marcos and his cronies were to blame for our lack of money as well as economic advancement. My father said that so many times after his sixth beer on Sundays. LOL!
Anyway, my teacher basically told us that the way to end the injustice being done to us and the poverty we were experiencing we needed to end the rule of President Marcos and return to a real and true democracy… where we could vote for our leaders, where we would have a greater say in how the economy was managed, where we could speak up against injustices, where we could organize ourselves to work together in bringing about solutions to widespread problems…
Guess what? From the time it was claimed that the country returned to “true” democracy to the present when Cory’s son is nearing the end of his term as president, nothing much has changed.
Most of our people are still born poor and most of them will die… …still poor.
Clearly now, to me, it doesn’t seem like Marcos was the reason why the Philippines is one of the poorest in the world.
It could still be argued that the country’s leadership from Emilio Aguinaldo to Noynoy Aquino had an impact on how the country’s political-economic system was set up and managed. The rest of the argument can go so many ways and most of these arguments center around the idea that the only way to improve your life is to change “the system” or “change the people who run the system.”
Do you believe that? If so, stop reading this because the rest of what I have to say may upset you.
If you buy into the crappy argument that has you putting blame on people and things as the cause for the circumstances of your life, then you are what is called a victim… a mark in someone’s con game… a cat’s claw for someone who doesn’t want his or her hands sullied.
To begin explaining to you how foolish it is to hope that changes in the country’s leadership or changes in the political and economic system will enable you to have a better life, I have to tell you about the Rube Goldberg machine.
It is an excessively elaborate machine that is built to do a simple thing in as an indirect and circuitous way as possible. It is bit entertaining to watch a Rube Goldberg machine work perfectly and see how one component sets off another component like a row of dominoes, but in the end it is just a waste of time.
The only people that benefit from a Rude Goldberg machine are those people who set up such machines. They either set up such machines for their own entertainment or are paid to set up such machines for the entertainment of others. The machine itself doesn’t do anything useful for anyone else and even if it does end up doing anything of practical value, it would only be incidental.
It is almost the same thing with people who advocate systems change as a means towards lifting people out of poverty.
A direct way to lift people out of poverty is still through skills training and education. Yes, folks, it is that simple and it works.
The system changers’ plan to lift people out of poverty involves getting congress to change the constitution to change the system of government from presidential to parliamentary, re-organize the country a federation, and take out all restrictions to foreign investments.
These changes in turn will lead to the following:
- It is assumed that somehow the parliamentary form of government will perform better than a presidential form of government in the delivery of services such as an improved public education system, an improved health services, improved public transportation, etcetera.
- It is assumed that because the country is organized into a federation with provinces or regions as separate states, the heads of these states will run their territories in a way that would benefit their people in many ways.
- It is assumed that because more investments will flow into the country, more people will have jobs (perhaps even higher paying ones) and because more people will have more money, they will be able to use this money in a way that would lift themselves out of poverty.
It seems like a simple thing to do, especially so because these proposed massive and complex changes can be packaged into a couple of words and phrases.
But don’t let that fool you. Even just getting legislators to formally discuss charter change involves a number of steps and involves the consent of so many people. Just to give you an idea of how long it might take, just figure that moves to just discuss changing the constitution were initiated during former President Fidel V. Ramos’ term and till now, it is still being discussed — though not as prominently as it had been a couple of times in the past.
In the short and immediate term, the only people who have benefitted and who will benefit from advocating “systems change” are the advocates themselves or the people who pay them to advocate it for whatever gain it may have for them, the rest of us just end up wasting time or money or both.
So really, if you are advocating something you better get something out of it other than a t-shirt and membership in an exclusive club of some sort.
I am not saying that systems change won’t work. What I am emphasizing is that you shouldn’t wait for systems change to happen before you starting changes that will improve your own life.
Don’t waste your time ranting and whining on social media about how stupid the government or how inane a corrupt a government official is, unless you are getting some substantial benefit out of it. Even then, there are better and much more beneficial uses of your time on social media.
When it comes to the topic of changing things for the better, there are a lot of people who “talk game” but very few people who actually “bring game”. You know what I mean?
Some people who talk game basically just diss people who are actually playing the game, which is in some cases the farthest that they can ever hope to achieve because they are not even in the game.
If you really want things to change in this country, here’s the deal: Do everything to stop being a victim and quit participating in schemes that end up making more victims. Stop blaming things outside of yourself for the things you are experiencing or not experiencing. Start taking full responsibility for your life and focus on developing yourself so that you realize your full potential and can better handle the situation your are in.
More importantly, remember that you don’t get what you deserve in life… …you only get what you negotiate for. What that means is that you have to work for everything that you are going to get in life, there aren’t any magic genies or disembodied yayas that will give you the things that you need or want because you behaved like a nice boy or girl.
A very good and dear friend once said, “If you want to help the country, don’t be poor.”
I think that THAT is not enough. That just ensures you don’t add to the number of poor people which we already have.
If you really want to help this country and its people, become rich… extremely rich. Depending on your circumstances, it may or may not be possible to become extremely rich here in the Philippines and nothing should prevent you from trying to become extremely rich in some other part of the world.
Then, with what you can spare, get involved in a project or start one that will help other people to become rich. Put more money in helping people who want to become rich because there’s really little use in helping people who will not help themselves.