Whether we like it or not, the Philippines is changing. Whether it is because current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is making good on his campaign promises or not, change will come to Filipinos. We need to put a stop to the traditional thinking that any one person, clique, or some sort of “god” is behind our fortunes. The fact is, the world is a complex place and there are many variables that account for what happens next.
For example, while traditional Filipino “activists” lock horns on which world power the Philippines needs to be allied with (the old choice between being a “US-[insert current president here] Regime” or a “province of China”, and on whether or not “poor” Filipino workers are accorded enough “rights” to keep the big bad ugly capitalists honest, the rest of the world moves on to face modern challenges with eyes wide open. Key here is the obvious fact that technological progress is galloping along — becoming an ever bigger influence on the lives of ordinary people.
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Old-school “thought leaders”, for one, lament the rise of Chinese-run Philippine Online Gaming Operations (POGOs), seeing these as parts of sinister plots mounted by Chinese “imperialists” to invade the Philippines by stealth and by attrition.
This hollow-headed rhetoric fails to recognise bigger factors at play — how much of these operations are made possible by technology (it is often businesses outside of the scope of “polite” conversation, porn and gambling, that are the quickest to find technological solutions to their legal challenges), and how much of the cash China is awash with somehow needs to go somewhere to be parked and played.
So while the bigger things going on — big boys playing with their technology and cash toys — drive change, our dear small-minded “thought leaders” in the so-called “woke” community whine about what are essentially non-issues. After all, there is nothing new about the Philippines being just one of the little pawns in the globo-politics of world powers. It just happens to be the easy topic that lends well to the crafting of moronic catchphrases that pander to old Victim Mentalities used in Cold War-era street “protests” we continue to be subject to today.
There is a strong need to lift the quality of the national discourse. This will not happen if we continue to allow it to be dominated by the Old Guard — people who have rebranded themselves into the so-called “woke” crowd but are, underneath that clever disguise, just the same moldy 1970s-vintage mob led by the disgruntled Old Fart holdovers from the discredited First Quarter Storm mythology told in old (and also discredited) Philippine History textbooks.
One cannot uphold a bold and modern vision if the motivation to dream big is held back by a chain hooked on to 1970s thinking.
We therefore need an Opposition, and, for that matter, political parties that embrace a bright but more challenging future that is rich in opportunity for those who possess the imagination to harvest these. These new parties need to regard that future with minds unencumbered by the thinking of the old order of fear mongerers, oligarchs with vested interests in the status quo, and “analysts” who issue uninformed commentary without knowing enough about the technologies that are now the core foundations of the social orders we inhabit. In short, we need political parties that apply modern thinking to the strategic vision that they pitch to Filipino voters.
If we continue to rely on parties that constantly remind Filipinos that they are “victims” then, guess what, Filipinos will continue to think like victims. The time has come for Filipinos to refuse to be victims. It begins with the individual and that change needs to come from the grassroots — in the way ordinary Filipinos raised and educated. However, the most influential amongst us — people with big audiences and the loudest bullhorns also need to be taken to task in a broad initiative to change the Philippines’ political culture and discourse. It starts now.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.