I find it interesting that Filipinos are so shocked about how 2020 was such a “shit” year. While it is true that the Philippines is one amongst the worst sufferers of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the country coped badly. After all, we are talking about a people who get hit by typhoons and heavy monsoon rains year in and year out yet continue to fail to prepare for and respond to these climatic events as a matter of national routine. What more a global pandemic, right?
Consider too that Filipinos haven’t historically shown exceptional ability to capitalise on opportunities either. We dropped the ball after coming out of World War II with one of the most promising economies in the region and pretty much missed out on the high-growth “Asian Tiger” era of the 1970s through the 1980s that catapulted many of our peers in east- and southeast-Asia to “newly-industrialised country” (NIC) status. Most important of all, a so-called “revolution” that supposedly “freed” Filipinos from “tyranny” in 1986 failed to deliver on what had turned out to be a dishonest over-promise to an entire people made by its communist-allied instigators.
Filipinos are evidently collectively neither good at solving acute problems nor seizing rare opportunities to prosper. As such, one is led to question what exactly these Snowflakes of Manila are whining about as they reflect on the year everyone is eager to see the end of. As I’ve long asserted, the evidence is strong that the solutions to the Philippines’ ills don’t lie in politics. The Philippines’ problems are very likely profoundly cultural in nature. You can’t change culture using a system that interrupts focus on long-term strategic initiatives every six years with expensive “democratic” circuses. When one considers this bigger and deeper scheme of things, it becomes easy to see just how lame the petty partisanism that characterises Philippine “democracy” is. It is an exercise that knows nothing beyond politicising issues of national consequence.
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For that matter, what is the New Year but an ephemeral figment of human civilisation that means nothing to the rest of the planet’s “non-human” biomass? The coronavirus won’t look back to 2020 and reflect on its evolutionary triumph then rest on its laurels. It will continue to do the one job Mother Nature demands of all forms of life (or proto life forms such as viruses) that inhabit this planet — find new ways to ensure the continued propagation of its DNA pattern (and its variants).
Science may be the only human endeavour that might pose a challenge to all that nature throws at us, but one thing’s for sure, politics won’t save the day — specially for a people who know nothing but politics. The fact is, Filipinos can’t do science if their life depended on it. If there’s one thing 2020 proved about the Philippines, that would be it. Scroll through the whinery that is the Philippines’ social media chatter and all you will find is an overwhelmingly political regard for COVID-19. The Vaccine is just another one of those foreign goodies that members of Filipino victimdom will be clambering over one another to acquire as a matter of individual (or clan) private enterprise — a fancy English translation for the all-too-familiar kanya-kanya culture Filipinos are renowned for.
And that, folks, is my fearless forecast for 2021. The Year 2021 will be the year of The Geat Filipino Scramble for the COVID-19 vaccine. While people of the advanced world will quietly queue in an orderly manner for their turn, Filipinos will likely lie, cheat, pull strings, grovel, and kill one another to get their hands on it. Perhaps Filipinos will one day turn that approach to getting what they want into a science. For now it makes for a good show and good fodder for social media chatter. Are you not entertained? The answer to that question depends on what side of the social equation you sit.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.