Breaking Free from Poverty: A Politician-Independent Approach

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?

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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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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23 Comments on “Breaking Free from Poverty: A Politician-Independent Approach”

  1. Zaxxs, you words are true for every nation including the USA. I also think there needs to be something added to your number 5 point. Giving whether it be time, money, or labor is great to building long lasting friendships where people a person will always know someone who someone that can help with problems. I see that in poverty everywhere people tend to try to do things on their own or step on people to get to the top. your number 3 point needs to be successful positive people. I have noticed that some people just want to dish down insults instead of trying to help people attain their level or become better than them. This is the wrong successful people to be with. A will use a old proverb ” The job of a teacher is to make t the student their teacher” We all help push people to become not the same as us, but better than us.

    1. William,
      a resounding Amen to your great addendum. Most of what’s in the article is just basic universal common sense. Good you went deeper into the points presented. Well individualistic Pinoy Pride rearing its ugly head in the form of crab mentality is chief among the Pinoy’s enemies within.

      People go to mass and hear “it is more blessed to give than to receive”, only go straight out into the world to apply the exact opposite of what they just heard. The more we cling with clenched fists on to the crap we hold so dearly, the less our ability to catch the golden nuggets falling down from heaven.

      People must view their life on earth as merely a pipe: we receive in order to give. But many have become content in being buckets hoarding stale stinking water. It would make a whole world of difference to PH society and politics if only every person (beginning with the man in the mirror) realized this truth.

      I know America has its own problems – obesity for one. When you see people the size of baby elephants walking in Walmart pushing a cart filled to the brim, you know something is very wrong.

      1. Mr. Zaxx, somehow it took you a while to notice this query! Hey, thanks!

        But will the P400-million for a UP Campus that offers POSTGRADUATE COURSES (meant for postgraduate programs for professionals – people who are already working..) in posh Bonifacio Global City (BGC!) right next to the International School(!) ever reach out to those in, as you described them, “the UNFORTUNATE ONE-QUARTER”???!!! Perhaps, maybe if ever they have the chance to get out of their miserable situation!

        Hmmm…I wonder what made you choose this one? Well, thanks anyway for whatever your friends had in mind when they came up with that! It’s really their own private money anyway and the power to decide what to do is with them! Must be taking care of their own kind? I hope they’re true as they seem!

        I am just reminded of these words (taken from your Article and from a certain GRP Post!):

        “…actually the Article is really meant for dirt poor people – these poor people need to learn how to give (rather than ask) – so the virtuous cycle of karmic blessing will take effect in their lives.”

        “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?”

        and these words:

        “As a businessman, should I be impressed by these charities by business? Yes, if I am naive. No, if I know they are all just about tax shields. Why should I be impressed by a practice in business, where there is nothing obviously extra-ordinary about them?”

        I thought, relative to your brilliantly written article, as far as these intended dirt poor subjects are concerned, the message from the I-Witness Documentary of Ms. Sandra Aguinaldo say a lot more…and meant more! I guess, it uplifts the soul more!

        If only the Oligarchs in our society can choose not to just self-congratulate themselves and not just act and sound like Politicians…the social gap will somehow narrow down!

        1. SITT, Good you mentioned Sandra Aguinaldo. The 13th minute of the following video of hers more aptly demonstrates the spirit of item#5

          Sa Piling ng Wala: ‘Sandra Aguinaldo’s Kalam 1
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PmHwibJSEMs

          It’s the small deeds of kindness (if possible, done anonymously and out of the spotlight) that will change this nation.

  2. Would you become, other than a Filipino? It is a hypothetical question. There are some good and bad in being a Filipino. The truth is: I cannot jump out of my own skin; and I don’t know, how to answer the question.

    It is hard for me to relate, in being a “squatter child”…I know these people have difficult lives. It really is a tremendous effort for them, to get out of their cycle of poverty. However, if there is a will, there must be a way.

    1. Consume English Books – English should be taught earlier in the Elementary school. English is the language of advanced Science and Technology. It is the language of advanced studies in any field of human advancement.

    2. Detach your TV Antenna – There are good programs also to be watched on TV. Some good news. Some like: National Geographic, Science and Technology Channel, History Channel, Military Channel, Travel Channel, etc…

    If you just remain watching Philippine TV channels; that are mostly filled with “gatbage shows” of : teleseryas, the antics of Kris Aquino and Vice Ganda; the stupidity of game and prize shows; etc…Garbage In, Garbage Out. You fill you mind with garbage.

    3. Associate with successful people – True. “Tell me who your friends are; and I will tell you who you are”…

    4. Throw away your junk – if you don’t need it…simply do not buy it, or own it. Our consumerist society encourage us to buy the goods, we do not need.

    5. Give – giving is not just giving material things to people. It is sharing what you have, like knowledge to your fellowmen. What we are doing here at GRP, like blogging, is sharing the knowledge we have to our fellow Filipinos. Enabling them to find their way out of the rut, we are all in…(assuming you are not one of those YellowTard paid trolls, or any politician’s paid trolls)…

    Just do it! No more , no less!

    1. HToro, good point on #2. Actually there are good shows – very educational and mentally stimulating (mostly foreign) ones. But mainstream PH media operates on both a demand pull and supply push economic principles. Pinoys are stuck wanting the garbage being shoved into their brains while the networks are stuck supplying what sells in a market of zombified viewers. There seems to be no way out of this cycle of stupidity generation – Pinoys are getting dumb and dumber every succeeding generation.

      Grimwald is a strong voice calling out this great evil that corrupts PH society esp. the malleable minds of your youth. Our only consolation is that it unites the nation and at least gets people distracted enough to NOT mount rebellions. PH media in its current state is this mentally underdeveloped people’s wonder pacifier. I guess it will be sticking around for a long long time till Pinoys finally grow a brain of their own. GRP will be a good start for those wanting OUT.

      1. @zaxx:

        People should use their computers more, to acquire information. There are many ways to acquire information thru the computer, from worldwide sources.In any field of endeavor of knowledge, you can access it…It is the Age of Information Technology. We must be a part of this information highway revolution. And the millennial generation, must become better, than this present “YellowTard” generation…it is mind bending, how this present “YellowTard” generation was misinformed and badly influenced by the Aquinos and EDSA legend…

        It is sad, that most Filipinos, just sit and watch all these garbage: teleseryas, Wowoowees, Vice Ganda, Kris Aquino, Boy Abundia, Sotto, etc…their minds are doped by these shows, everyday…all garbage.

  3. Poverty (pro)creates poverty.

    Everything starts with good, quality education. During school, your talent(s) surface. Be it becoming a good biologist, mathematician, scientist, accountant etc.

    But having 8 kids is already disastrous. Thanks and credits to either religion or ignorance or both.

    I am mingling with people who share the same background (in education, minds and employment and all other things). I dont think somebody coming from the slums is able to connect nor to relate to whats going on.

    Nobody has to give me anything. Knowledge is readily available everywhere (library, schools, internet).

  4. Very sound advice. Especially #3. Stop consuming mental garbage. This brainless opium is what is stunting the mental development of most Filipinos an ultimately why they cannot comprehend any other genres besides love, revenge and romance. As a consequence, when Filipinos make literary or media works, it’s always one or all three genres that I’ve described.

    In fact, if you want Filipinos to change, you need to find a way to shun that mental poison.

  5. Brilliant article, zaxx.

    100% agree with everything in it, except this, my friend:

    “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”

    A). Idol — Catholics take idol as anything or anyone that makes one shift one’s center of gravity, or focus, away from God. It could be money, possesion, career, ambition, activities, persons, things, etc. Such are normally and basically good, but if any of such no longer helps in one’s personal relationship with the Lord, then one has to do some corrective measure. If any of such hampers, then it has to be stopped, abandoned, or dropped.

    Now, I understand non-Catholics will never understand the presence of crucifix, images, pictures, statues in churches and even in homes of Catholics. But, this matter has already gone through extensive debates and they are well recorded. (Google iconoclasm or iconoclastic controversy). From the top of my head, I think there were three periods in the history of the Church that this issue became big controversies that it required extensive debates. The first one (8th century) required even a Council to be convened, specific to the issue As you may be aware, the Church does not normally convene Councils, unless a controversy is so big or has far reaching consequences that the Magisterium has to finally step in.

    8th Century, Islam, which of course is the ultimate iconoclast, reached a formidable strenght. Muslims started persecuting and killing Christians particularly those in the Eastern, or Orthodox, Churches, which was 100%, as opposed to 40% today, still part of the Catholic Church. It reached a point where Christians had to ask what is the point of the images and statues. The results of that Council were further refined in later two Councils, even if said two Councils were not specific to just iconoclasm, but also other issues, or controversies. This issue has biblical, theological, ecclesial, cultural, psychological, art, symbolism, etc angles to it, which all have to come together to form a single doctrine. But if it has been taken up in three Councils, then it must have gone through the grinder, packed, unpacked several times, and packed again by theologians and exegetes, so I can only assume it is a very much settled issue.

    But, I know what you mean when applied to the Philippine setting: (1) 80% of Filipinos are Catholics. But, I suspect 80%, maybe even more, of that 80% don’t even know why they are Catholics. I know because I was born a Catholic, became a Born Again, became an atheist, and back to Catholicism, and when I look back, religion was a subject to just have a grade in the report card of the school, but it was rote learning. And I went to the motion of going to mass, but all mechanical, to keep the parents happy. I only acquired the habit of reading the Bible as a Born Again and reading on Catholicism as a revert.

    (2) Catholicism in the Philippines is a syncretism. There is so much of the tribal, animistic religion that has entered it. So, I wonder how they look at those images and statues, whether they are just symbols or aids in praying, or do they actually pray to them expecting magic. I cringe for example watching what goes on in that yearly procession of the Black Nazarene. A priest told me to read on nehushtan to have a better understanding, but that has only partially given me answers. Nevertheless, I gather the hierarchy debates it also every year for there is a growing number among them wanting to stop it as obviously there are already excesses in it towards idolatry.

    But, I understand the difficulty. To really solve the problem requires massive education, and with lack of priests and lay religious teachers, it is a mountain of a problem. On top of that, most of the devotees are actually uneducated to begin with. And that further makes things complicated since Catholicism is actually of a very intellectual kind. I only realized this as a revert and in observing Catholics abroad. In India and Indonesia, for example, converts only come from the intellectual segment of the society.

    (3) Churches here are not only a poor copy of those in Europe, a good many of them are outrightly ugly. Even from a secular perspective, art should uplift the spirit. One only has to get inside the Louvre in Paris, and I think you know what I mean. Ah well, I think there is still the Holy Spirit that should compensate for this shortcoming on the human side. But here, you can see the problem in #2 from a different perspective. How do you talk about these things with the uneducated Masses.

    Protestants don’t have these problems, of course, because yours is only based on Faith alone and Bible alone, which Catholics find insufficient.

    B) Rosary is not junk, man. If taken only as a vocal prayer, and then recited thoughtlessly, then yes, it may actually be unbiblical because of its repetitiveness. But, it is not just a vocal prayer, although that is how it appears to non-Catholics. If one cannot go beyond vocal prayer, then it is suggested one is wasting time with it. It is actually a very difficult prayer if one is not used to it, because it is supposed to be a meditative prayer.

    The sound that comes from the repetitive Hail Mary generates a rhythm that should put one in prayerful mood. It is the same as the repetitive Jesus prayer that Orthodox have in the background while at same time that somebody is reading the Bible aloud. So, while the mouth is making that rythmic sound with Hail Mary, the mind should in time be entering the different scenes of the Bible as suggested in the beginning of each decade of beads. Example: agony in the garden of Gethsemane. The mind could linger on the thought of what it would be like if I was with Peter, James and John about 20 meters away from Jesus already sweating in blood scared at the prospect of crucifixion.

    It is kind of a yoga with a biblical twist, and that is why it has a calming effect. This is the reason why it became popular in an age before the printing press. The Bible that time was hard to come by. Guess what, zaxx, Rick Warren of the best selling book, Purpose Driven Life, and who heads one of the biggest mega churches of the Evangelicals in the US, prays the rosary. Warren was just talking about it last week in an interview. I wonder how he would last as an Evangelical because the famous biblical scholar, Scott Hahn, after he started using the rosary in prayer, ended up a Catholic in not so long a time. I am sure VP Joe Biden, Speaker John Boehner, the late Justice Scalia, and Tony Blair of UK, all pray the rosary because I have seen interviews of them talk about it as their go to prayer, especially when they are tense.

    C. Mary and the Saints — the most contentious issue between Protestants and Catholics. I will not talk about it or this post will be a mile long, except to say that in theology, Mariology is under the topic of Christology. As such the topic covers the communion of saints, intercession, the militant and the triumphant church, and many, many Bible verses cross referenced against each other.

    I agree with you Mary and the Saints are not omniscient, but just to give you an idea, Catholics do not pray TO Mary, or TO any saint, but WITH Mary, or WITH any saint. My favorites, for example, are Therese of Lisieux, Therese of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis of Assisi, Ignatius of Loyola, Thomas Aquinas, Jose Maria Escriva, and some more. I feel a friendship with them because I read their biographies; I kind of know them, and for me they are heroes. But, I don’t pray to them, but remember them when I am in a prayerful mood, and in that, I have this feeling that they are besides me, so in that sense, I am praying WITH them.

    I think this link should offer a clearer explanation >>> http://www.mark-shea.com/mother.html <<< Catholic Church in the US had some heavy weight converts coming from the Evangelical side, and Mark Shea is one of them.

    Sorry for this long post, zaxx. Hope you don't mind, but I had to clarify things Actually, I avoid now talking religion in the internet because ever since I started reading on Catholicism, I just have this feeling I know so little, and the more I read, the more of that feeling — well, it is 2000 years of history, I suppose. But, that also afforded a different interpretation of things in the Bible when I read it now. It feels like I am in Grade1 again.

    Anyway, cheers, man.

    1. Add, thanks for expounding. I think I’ll just go by Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle on this one as I really can’t wrap my head around the necessity of all the inventions men have introduced in making a very simple religion into one complex monster.

      For me, Christianity is very simple:
      2 commands – love God, love others as self.
      2 ordinances – Lord’s supper, baptism
      A few ceremonies – at birth, marriage, death

      Almost everything else that people are doing nowadays in churches are just add-ons that complicate life. Even in the simple act of praying – men have created so many rules and traditions: closing eyes, folding hands, sign of cross, ending with “in Jesus name”, bowing knees, seeking dead people’s assistance, etc. it’s like religious red tape to keep people from freely enjoying the essence of the activity – talking to one’s Creator.

      I respect whatever people choose to believe in and I do recognize I am stepping on some else’s blue suede shoes in a debating forum like this but that’s what we’re here for. Maybe my questioning somebody else’s beliefs / practices will turn a light bulb in their mind. I’m sure you have a very good reason for practicing the rosary in a way that actually helps you; but I doubt the rest of the Pinoys know what they’re even reciting – just mechanically going through the motions – in that case it’s futile waste of their time, which could have been better allocated to designing PH rocket engine parts to keep us in the race with the rest of the superpowers.

      Like SSM which you wrote extensively about recently, I won’t be able to understand why a man would even think of having rectal copulation with another (I view it on the same level as wanting to have sex with my dog and demanding rights to marry it) – good luck to our society’s evolution. Maybe I need to be one to really understand all this homosexuality junk in our society. I don’t think I’ll be converting into Catholicism in the very near future coz a lot of it really doesn’t make sense to me, even with the link you gave that I just read. Or maybe I’m just one stubborn dog.

      As Grimwald is wont to say: truth be told…
      all of us want to know the truth, and there is only one absolute truth. But once we find that truth; the good news is – it shall set us free! Have a great journey – to you and all our GRP club members! Cheers

      PS: Thank God it’s Monday – excited to work again!!!

      1. Hi zaxx
        Sorry for this late reply, I had to be at the salt mines today.

        I can assure you I wasn’t proselytizing. I would not dare. Somebody who can write a great article such as the above, and other articles sprinkled here and there with a good sense of humour, definitely does not need to be proselytized. It is obvious you already know what you want. But, you did step on a blue suede shoes. No offence taken because fortunately the shoe is clearly not mine. And if the maxim is correct that one can’t criticize what one doesn’t know, I hope what I have expounded has added some knowledge.

        Still, criticisms with good intentions are always helpful. And if there is one who needs all the criticisms it has been getting, it is of course the Catholic Church here. It is supposed to be the moral vanguard of the nation, but it has been a dismal failure. 90% of the politicians are Catholics, and yet, corruption and scandals have become the very system. The devil does not need to work here, the Filipinos themselves have been so creative and innovative in violating every which way every tenet of the Ten Commandments. And there are now Filipinos to whom thievery is not just an act, but an attitude, a mindset. It is the only Catholic country in Asia, but it’s tourist attraction has incredibly something to do with prostitution. At the very least, the Church should have done something by now about ignorance and superstition, but no, we seem light years away in eliminating these.

        I don’t know if it has something to do with the set-up of the Church, but if it is of the majority, it fumbles and bumbles. In South Korea, for example, where the Church represents only less than 10% of the population, the Church is seen as the moral pillar, and the government quite often consults the Church first, despite the strong presence of Buddhism and the bigger force of Evangelicals there. It is surprising that in many instances what the Church had to say became the final word. This is understandable because I have yet to meet a Korean Catholic who is not an exemplar of a moral life.

        To a degree, the same can be said about the Catholic Church in India, Indonesia, Thailand and China, and in these cases, you are only talking of 2% of the population. And yet, any Catholic from these places will put to shame any Filipino Catholic in terms of knowledge of one’s faith, as well as a well-ordered, well-balanced, or well-rounded life. In fact, I took a look again at Catholicism because of an Indonesian Catholic. What is interesting is that the Church in Vietnam is of the 40%, and there, some of the Catholics are as crazy as Filipino Catholics. There is something about the Church that it is at its best when it is of the minority, or there is probably something in the characters of members of a minority that is already strong to begin with, and that is why they can live under duress without being affected.

        That might be a good option for the Church in the Philippines to look at — to be a MINORITY, even by just its attitudes. Right now, there is an attitude of triumphalism, I think, inside it. It is still that Church that Magellan brought. I was just reading what the Church was in the Middle Age Europe. The resemblance of that Church with the Church here today is uncanny. By 12th Century, it was sinking into most Europeans that the Crusades were failures. But, that was a blessing in disguise, because it gave Europe, including the Church, an incentive to rethink things and consolidate. It was in this atmosphere that Aquinas came out with his Summas in the 13th century. In retrospect, that period could be looked at now as one of the apex of the Church. For the first time, schools had a system that clearly delineated things biblical, theological, philosophical, etc

        But, things deteriorated after that, intellectuals got fascinated with a philosophy now detached from theology, which of course resulted in less attention to the Bible. Such was what students were taking home, and the spill over outside of the academe had its effect.. It was not a good time to have such experiments as in the secular side, new ideas were also filtering in brought home by Crusaders, trade was increasing, new lands were being developed, science was beginning, and there was tag of war between the Church and the State with regards to power. By 15th century, the call for reform within the Church began, but with its mamoth size and with triumphalism having crept in, the Church was slow to react. By 16th century, the number of reformers have grown dramatically, among them Luther, the monk known for his mesmerizing sermons, the very intelligent Calvin, and the passionate Zwingli. And the rest is history.

        It baffles the mind that de facto kind of government here, which is feudal, and the Church is really that of the 14th and 15th century Europe. There is a mindset here that seems so hard to break. No doubt, the country has undertaken so much change. We call our system a democracy, though it is not, so many are exposed to the world via the 0FWs, we have been through revolutions and wars, etc, and yet these changes seem to be just scratching the surface. There is a core that seems somehow to be untouched. I don’t understand, for example, why Filipinos are inward looking and cannot see the country within the context of the global community. The current debate re the EDSA People Power can be a concrete example. If they can just look at how all the dictatorships in Asia ended and what the Arab Spring delivered, I don’t think we would need these debates, which are so myopic.

        That is why I have this little theory that if the local Church could not purged itself of those who are only Catholics in name, which I understand could look selfish and discriminatory, then maybe it could frame itself as a minority. French Revolution was cruel to the Church, but the blessing in disguise is that it gave the Church a niche within the scheme of things that looks so logically it’s rightful place — it could only wield soft power. In the Philippines for one, that means it could focus on quality than quantity. It maintains the biggest charity network, for example, as the Church does around the world, but in the Philippine setting, are they just adding to the mendicant mentality, and are they spreading themselves thinly? Or, should they concentrate, as you suggested in your #5 above, in just inculcating a giving attitude so that the Church does not need to maintain a charity network and millions of individuals could just fill in the gap created by the absence of that network? Maybe, one day when I have a better formulation of my little theory, I will write the hierarchy of the Church, the CBCP.

        Anyway, I understand why you want to keep things simple. Different folks, different strokes, and I respect you for that. Afterall, keeping things simple should be the first option and often ends up as the best approach. My problem is that I am a complicated man. First commandment is to love the Lord. But, to love somebody is to try to get to know more that somebody so I can love that somebody more. And getting to know Him more should serve to increase the love of neighbor. Now, before I get more complicated, please rest assured I have been giving your words re simplicity a good amount of thinking.

        May the Lord Jesus give you all the blessing, zaxx.

        1. Add,
          I hope you dont mind me reading your comment to Zaxx.
          I read you blaming/accusing the PH government, the PH RCC and also the PH people (population).

          I really like to read how your ideal, perfect PH society/country/government/media/laws looks like. No, not to criticise or bashing you after you wrote and published it. I just want to hear how you would like to see things. Either taken from today or from a point back in PH history.

          What I find a little bit odd is that I hardly see Benign0, Kate and Ilda write about religious stuff or even hardly incorporate religion into their articles whereas Zaxx, Grimwald and you seem to be hardliners when it comes to religion.

        2. Add, those are very interesting points you bring up there. Many majority Catholic nations suffer from the same symptoms of moral dysfunction – South American countries in particular. Maybe being a minority can make a difference. persecution for one is a refining fire.

          Yes, first you need to cull out those wolves in sheep’s clothing that fill your ranks – which may reduce your churches to 10% of the current population. One observation I have from a person looking in from the outside is that Catholics generally lack DEPTH.

          I can understand you went full circle becoming an evangelical, atheist and back to Catholic, which kind of makes you an exception. But for the vast majority of Catholics I know, there is no element of depth/analysis in what they believe in.

          I come from a background where we are expected to study, analyze, mince and chew the scriptures / deep doctrines. I just don’t see that culture in Catholicism. We are even made to exercise our gifts by being teachers; to lead BS groups – formulating good in-depth questions. And I’m just a lay person, yet we are given heavy responsibilities.

          But in Catholicism from what I have observed there is hardly any one on one discipleship program involving lay members that ensures a copy of you (imitating Christ) is replicated in the next person in line. It’s just like some hi, kamusta, bye in attending mass. Which will explain the general kababawan of Catholics who fill media and politics in this country.

          Maybe the reason why you’re back in Catholism is for you to catalyze change in how things are done there. You’re back as an infiltrator. Catholic Churches should start segregating its members to differentiate those who are true disciples from those who are mere Christians – I assure you there’s a vast difference (lifestyle and fruit will tell).

          You are gifted with insight Add, and I think you are closing in on a solution to unravel the mystery of Catholism’s role in the zombification of this nation. I think a lot of readers here would be very interested to hear your theories – Robert for one is already knocking on your door.

          Well, way past my bedtime – so timing out for now. Shalom

  6. Good article zaxx, but I think there’s a reason why Filipinos are wary of giving: they know that anyone considered “generous” will have a queue of no-hopers asking to “borrow” money for some stupid project. Give a Filipino an inch and he’ll take several light-years.

    They do the same to the environment. I am surrounded by people who own vast tracts of land, but all they do with it is cut the trees for charcoal. It simply never occurs to them that if they give something back to Mother Nature, she will return with abundance.

    Before Filipinos can give, they need to learn to stop take, take, taking.

    1. That’s true Marius. Many have become very wary of poor people asking for / borrowing money as they can sometimes be abusive of one’s kindness. James suggests we give to the really helpless – like widows and orphans. I feel happier giving if the person does not ask. Once people ask (like during caroling season), it kind of turns me off. Filipinos should learn to convey a need without being such annoying flies.

      But actually the Article is really meant for dirt poor people – these poor people need to learn how to give (rather than ask) – so the virtuous cycle of karmic blessing will take effect in their lives. Unfortunately, I feel only a handful of already well off people here are reading these articles. Maybe some NGOs / schools / coops / churches can help bring messages here to the real beneficiaries.

      1. Yeah, I guess your article isn’t likely to reach the intended audience. Even if it did, they probably wouldn’t understand. I used to give money, discreetly, to people I though genuinely needed it, but it really distressed me when the recipient would aggressively ask for more. Now I don’t give anything to anyone, which is sad.

        What frustrates me most is that poor people – at least where I live – think only in terms of cash, paper currency, and completely ignore all the possible sources of income that they have. I’ve had several people who are richer than I am (in terms of assets) come asking me for cash. I know it’s not just me – I hear stories of the local layabouts either abusing the generosity of their neighbors, or cheating/stealing from them. It’s mad.

        What would be nice is this: just being neighborly. I’d happily give people seeds, seedlings, or, hell, just some advice on how to make compost from trash. I wouldn’t mind helping them set up a solar power system or a drip system. I’d love to try a “joint venture” with some of the landowners who are asset-rich and cash poor. Cash is here today and gone tomorrow, but things like that are income-generators. They’re the normal ways that farming communities help each other. But nobody ever asks me, and if I offered (which I won’t, because it’s weird) they’d probably be offended or bemused. It’s only ever: “can you borrow me P—?”.

        If you can reach the schools, it might help. I get the impression most of the dysfunctional thinking around here is taught to them in school.

  7. The failure to read good books both enfeebles the vision and strengthens our most fatal tendency — the belief that the here and now is all there is.

  8. I like the article, I thought it’s already good, but with Add’s comments, it became even better. Maybe I should look-out for more Simple Zaxx’ articles with Complicated Add’s comments in it, and/or Complicated Add’s articles with Simple Zaxx’ comments. In the end, we readers somehow get that Item # 3 feel. So, thank you guys, keep it going!

    1. Thanks JPsu. Add is like the perfect epitome of #1 in the article. Actually, not bad for someone who’s ADD (just kidding Add – I know some people hate my sense of humor).

      But going on a tangent here, I do have an inaanak who had ADD – and had to go to some special school that could handle such children. Then it turns out he’s actually a genius – a walking encyclopedia. Last I heard – he just passed the entrance for Phil Science HS. Amazing – I hope he becomes some future leader of this country. I’m proud of the kid coz I played Cupid in getting his parents together – it was a funny story.

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