Before I begin, I’d like to share a few of my experiences…
It was Mardi Gras in Olongapo and I was standing in line with some of my friends at the entrance. It was getting kinda late and I was getting sleepy. Unfortunately, I’m not really big on city-wide parties and I usually tag along on such events for the sake of camaraderie.
Anyway, while we were second to the last group, another group comes up and speaks to the guard and ticket-seller at the entrance.
“Let us in,” said the woman in charge of the group.
“Ma’am,” said the guard to the woman. “You’re gonna have to get in line like everyone else.”
“Don’t you know who I am?” said the woman. “I’m a personal friend of the mayor! I could have you fired for talking like that to me!”
The next thing I know, the woman was allowed inside with no consequences of any kind.
My close friends and I were having dinner at a scenic spot in SBMA. We were having a good time drinking booze and eating pizza when another family came by to eat near us. They were okay and exchanged banter with one another while we kept to ourselves. However, they didn’t stay very long and left shortly afterward.
When my friends and I were leaving, we stuffed our garbage in a bag we brought with us and put it inside a dumpster a little further off from where we had our dinner. Then we saw the place where the family had been sitting at and were utterly shocked at the mess they left behind. Styrofoam containers lay open on their table with at least one of them lying on the ground with its noodles spilling out. Plastic bags lay scattered all around their table with some being blown away by the wind. Finally, a baby’s diaper lay on the ground, it’s contents visible for all to see.
Deciding we couldn’t just leave things as they were, we went to the trouble of picking up the trash on and around their table. As for the diaper, we used a stick to pick it up and hastily carried it over to the trash can. After we were sure that we had taken care of everything, we left.
Bachelor Party Pub Crawl
My friend was getting married so we decided that we do a pub crawl on the night before his wedding as our version of a “bachelor party”. While sitting outside an outlet of 7/11 in SBMA, we saw a father and son hurrying to somewhere on the other side of the street where there was a large hotel.
At first, I didn’t understand what was happening when the father faced the hotel in a standing position with his legs apart. Then I realized that he was actually urinating with his son, who was probably eight, watching him. When he was done, he got his son to do the same thing. When they seemed finished with their business, they left hastily.
Truth be told, the three incidents mentioned above are actually just a very few examples of the dysfunctional behavior in just about every Filipino. It’s almost like just a few tiny drops of water in an endless ocean of dysfunction and stupidity. These days, it’s almost commonplace to see people who like to cut in line, litter everywhere like there’s no tomorrow and urinate in public places like it’s nobody’s business. Worse yet, when people like these are called out, they get angry and act as if they are the victims in the situation whose rights are being violated by the authorities.
What’s really sad is that a lot of Filipinos like to clamor for “change” and “discipline” even though not many want to make an effort to change and discipline themselves. Instead they go on and on like an out-of-control fire alarm shouting things they can barely even understand. And then, when things don’t go their way, when the changes require them to give up some of their enjoyable but clearly destructive habits, they cry bloody murder. This is one of the reasons the Philippines has always been locked in a state of mediocrity and a cycle of self-destruction.
More often than not, the cause of this cultural stagnation is none other than our “Pinoy Pride”. Yes, that hollow arrogance that festers in the hearts of every Filipino. This is the part of us that champions self-entitlement and the uncontrollable urge to show off even when one has so very little to offer. Thing is, why should one change after all when the current status quo has a lot of benefits to be had? Why should one discipline oneself when wanton and possibly illegal activities are so enjoyable? Our “Pinoy Pride” insinuates that we deserve special treatment (even when we clearly don’t) and laws in our country are simply “optional” and not “mandatory”.
Growing up, I couldn’t help but notice so many people who champion dysfunction over right and proper procedure and attitude. For many of the people I’ve met over the years, committing a crime isn’t as wrong as being caught. Yep, that’s right. For some, it isn’t cheating isn’t really wrong as just about everyone does it anyway. What’s wrong for these people is getting caught while cheating.
So you see ladies and gentlemen, it doesn’t really matter who wins the coming election. No matter who wins, if we the common people still can’t change ourselves for the better, to put aside our petty issues and selfishness for the greater good, then we still lose as a nation. If we continue to shun discipline, then we might as well throw in the towel now because nothing will ever change for the common Filipino. Unless we accept that we too fall under the purview of our country’s laws and rules and make necessary changes to our lives, then the Philippines will remain dysfunctional and dystopian for countless decades to come.
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