If you had the liberty to choose which country or race you would be born into, would you choose the Philippines? I’d figure most Filipinos would readily dish out the name of a first-world country like Germany, Japan, Korea, or the United States, nations that have something to be intrinsically proud of, in stark contrast to the emptiness of “Pinoy Pride!”
But the unfortunate reality is that you’re a Filipino, stuck in a messed up third-world sinkhole infested with dysfunctional zombies where the poor wallow in an unending cycle of despair as they see their rich indifferent aristocratic half-breed neighbors get even richer, and where apathetic politicians aren’t of any real help either since they simply value lining their pockets more than the fate of the nameless mother and child sleeping on the streets.
What If You Were Born a Squatter?
Now, what if you were one of those in the unfortunate one-quarter of the Filipino population living in abject poverty, how would you get out of your miserable situation? They say education is the key, but how can your dirt poor parents even send you to government-subsidized schools when you face the day with an empty stomach? Some say another key is to be an entrepreneur, but how can you even start a business to compete with Chinoy mega-corporations when you can’t even be trusted by friends to be given a loan for starting capital?
Let’s do a mental simulation: Imagine yourself to be in the shoes of a young lad named Gary, an unfortunate 7 year-old born into a squatter family of 8 kids roaming as scavengers and beggars in the streets of Manila. How would you get out of the shithole you are in now? You find yourself staring at Manila Bay’s golden sunset sitting along Roxas Blvd. pondering on your future, when a stranger approaches you and explains the road less travelled: a get-away plan from the vicious cycle of poverty in the Philippines.
Five Politician-Independent Steps to Freedom from Poverty
The following is a five-prong approach that any Pinoy like Gary can take to boot himself out of poverty without relying on the heroics of any politician. It takes old-fashioned discipline and iron-clad persistence to actually succeed, but the path is laid out here on a silver platter:
- Consume English books. There is a strong correlation between poverty and the ever broadening use of Tagalog across our society. You will notice that command of English is almost directly proportional to one’s socio-economic status – as an empirically supported fact, rather than as a hypothesis that needs to be proven. English books (the treasure trove of knowledge/ideas) are like the wide open EXIT door from this jailhouse called poverty. You don’t even need formal schooling to start getting into the habit of reading English books. You can easily get a bargain novel sold second hand in any thrift bookstore near you. Poverty is deeply rooted in a mindset, and the key to replacing that broken mindset is found in English books – not in Tagalog TV shows, which leads to the next step.
- Detach your TV’s antenna. I’ve been living for more than a decade now without having to watch the daily garbage on the invention called TV. In addition to being a distraction, mainstream Philippine media is mostly a poison, a brainwashing tool of the oligarchs and politicians to keep you dumb, with senseless noontime shows and teleseryes designed to keep you so deeply doped in their opium, for fear of having you cash cows grow a real brain; and whatever basic common sense that tries to sprout in your head gets nipped in the bud by the likes of Vice Ganda and Kris Aquino. Who are these people to dictate to us what should go into our brains? They are meant to keep you NOT thinking, and instead to simply get you in line happily marching with the rest of the herded cattle oblivious of the entrance gate to the slaughterhouse.
- Associate with successful people. As we all know, birds of the same feather die together. So if you want OUT from the poverty club, then find the right crowd of associates to spend time with. Mentalities are like body odor; they tend to transfer to the person you rub elbows or share shirts with. Find people who dream big, think big, and press hard towards their goal. Sooner or later, their common sense will infect you in a positive way. The reason I encourage Pinoys to go out as OFWs or marry foreigners is to allow the first-world mindset to rub off on the Pinoy who gets engulfed and immersed in a winner mentality. It will be just a matter of time till, as in cellular osmosis, good juice will finally seep into the Pinoy zombie’s dysfunctional coconut.
- Throw away your junk. Pinoys are drowning in junk – even those who are poor. Just open your wardrobe and count the shirts you haven’t worn for months now. Look at how you spend your time and money. Do you spend time bowing to an idol, reciting a “Hail Mary” for multiple beads of a rosary, and pouring out a fortune just to celebrate the local feast for a patron saint? I can assure you that no Mary or saint up in heaven has the time or omniscience to listen to you. Sorry to say but I really think that a lot of our activities are just plain junk. It may be tradition – but ask yourself: who says you have to keep that tradition? Who says you have to be the one to spend to treat others on your birthday? Some people also spend long hours on Facebook and video games. Ask yourself: why do I have to pour in precious time and money on this nonsense, when they could have been put to better and more productive use? Poor people spend on Marlboro, Red Horse, Coke, and other stuff that simply add no value to their tired intoxicated lungs and livers. The reason many are poor is they don’t know how to allocate – not just money but also time, energy and opportunities.
- Give. This may be the most counter-intuitive of the steps out of poverty listed here, but it’s probably the most powerful. Poverty (like fear) is an illusion. And no one is too poor to have nothing to give. As an intellect in Africa once said: Africa is not poor, it is only poorly managed. Well, if the managers are greedy crocodiles, what can you expect but a ravaged raped nation? The antidote to the lack of progress of a self-absorbed society is taking the opposite attitude in life – one of giving. I take it as a personal policy to give away a sizable chunk of my income to a worthwhile ministry/organization, a poor homeless man, or a distant relative in need. And somehow, by some law of karma, my income keeps going up, while not having to see it ending up in the cash-burning pit hole of disease/misfortune.
Item 5 brings enormous potential to ending poverty in the Philippines. Imagine if PNoy, as a final act before the curtains close on his presidential term, simply gave away Hacienda Luisita to the farmers – what would happen to the country? It would cause a chain reaction of rich people doing the same until the country has the opposite problem of not being able to find any more people to give freely to.
There are countries today that even if you give people a piano, appliance or car, they will decline to accept because they simply have no room to place all the blessings that abound in their society. Such could be the future of the Philippines if we only cared enough to change. Honesty is brother to benevolence, and if you keep these values running your life, you will one day get a knock on the door from a kind lady named Ms. Serendipity.
Just Do It!
As much as it is helpful to point out the shortcomings and failures of our leaders in government, it is also for the good of us as a society to look at the man/woman in the mirror. Maybe it does matter for a few people who among the candidates will win in the coming elections. But will it matter to poor little Gary? Even with all the eloquent motherhood statements of current presidential wannabees promising solutions to poverty requiring an imaginary “sky’s the limit” ATM to fund, as history shows, I doubt they will make a dent on the quarter of our population stuck in quicksand living on a measly few dollars a day. When our economic growth is hardly inclusive – felt by just a few on top of the food chain, the poor masses must take matters into their own hands.
We have here five painful yet effective steps to getting out of poverty. When you know a problem exists and are finally presented with a glaring solution, tell me my countrymen, what will you do? Maybe it’s time to stop our analysis paralysis and heed Nike’s simple suggestion – “Just do it!”
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Here’s the video that will inspire poor Filipinos to wake up from poverty-causing lethargy/mediocrity: TOP SECRET…
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