On the occasion of “Fathers’ day”, while some dads are going to be receiving gifts or having dinners arranged for them, I opted to write my child an open letter that I hope she will read in the future. Here goes…
It is 2021. It has been quite a number of years since you came to me. The world around me became different the day you were born. Somehow, in your own little way, without you really doing it, you changed my outlook in life. Your existence gave me direction. You taught me to take things that matter much seriously and with urgency. You caused me to limit my priorities to things that are truly beneficial. All else are either secondary or doesn’t even deserve a pinch of attention.
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While I could say good things for myself when you came out to this world, I don’t think I can say the same for you.
First of all, I’m sorry that you were born a year before the Covid-19 pandemic. I’m sorry that you cannot enjoy what we as children use to enjoy back then – play in the park, the beach, and other outdoor places. You cannot and must not do it for now lest you get infected with the Covid-19 virus. I’m sorry that your right to enjoy the outdoors and be a normal kid is disrupted by some irresponsible person or persons who cannot help themselves but consume an animal that we don’t usually consider edible. I’m not aware why they did it but perhaps it’s because of hunger. They were so hungry that they would eat anything. Little did they know, what they consumed would cause a global halt in general human activities. Actually, I find it hard to believe that story since some people think that that country is considered a superpower now. Having trouble equating poverty with being a superpower nation? Me too. Anyway, I’m sorry for ever making you live with such human beings.
Second, I’m sorry that you were born in a helpless nation. Yes, we have a lot of pride; we are told (or molded into thinking) that we have a lot of things to brag about. We have beauty queens that won fame in international competition; we have boxers, and other athletes that brought what most people consider as honor to our nation. Unfortunately, my dear, the very people that you are living with right now failed to convert that “honor” and “fame” as motivation to strive for much better greatness. Yes, we have an 8-division boxing champion. Thanks to him, we have days virtually crime-free whenever he’s in a bout. But we don’t have a solid armed forces who can always do battle with other nations anytime, anywhere when confronted. You know, in the western part of our country, you have a big reserve of oil that could have given you a bright future. I’m sorry my dear, that part of our country is occupied by a foreign power. I guess that “bright” future of yours became dim because of that foreign power. Actually, never mind that foreign power. I’m sorry that you were born in a nation with a government that isn’t really that skilled in foreign relations and national defense build-up.
Third, I’m sorry that you were born in a country where corruption is rampant. A few years ago, a number of politicians were involved in a P10 billion scam known as the PDAF scam. A few more years back and we have the P728 million Fertilizer Fund Scam. Recently, we have the P15 billion scam at Philhealth. If taken together, imagine how many schools could have been built for you and children your age with that amount; imagine how many hospitals could have been built where we can take you if you get sick; imagine how your life would have been better because of the infrastructures that were built out of that lost money. I’m sorry for the lost money, and I’m sorry for we have such greedy, bottom-feeder, heartless, thick-skinned, power-hungry, money-hungry… crooks. Lastly, I’m sorry that none of the politicians who were involved in those are suffering the consequences of their act. On the contrary, most of them are still in power or are enjoying their retirement.
Fourth, I’m sorry that I allowed you to live in a society that seems to be focused on all the wrong things. Yes, we have an endless supply of entertainers, but we don’t have a supply of our own Einsteins, Ramanujans, Curies, and Pythagoras. Even I suffered the same hunger to be fed with knowledge that shaped these persons. I’m sorry that the schools that are considered the “best” in our country are the most expensive. I find it funny though that considering that they are expensive (and often hard to get in), their global ranking doesn’t really fit what they charge. So I’m sorry if I send you to a state university that charge less. Anyway, I’ll try to fill in what they will fail to teach you.
Fifth, I’m sorry that I allowed you to live in a country where religion and oligarchs have a hand in shaping those in power. As an example, you know, our nation is just one of two that still don’t allow divorce. I don’t know with the other but in our case, the Bible is frequently used as an excuse for that. It’s funny because the Bible itself allows it for at least one ground. I’m sorry for some of your future playmates if their parents are going to suffer because of the whims of a few. I’m sorry too that I made you belong to a society that allows (and often promotes) blind adherence. I will do my best to teach you to develop discernment but when you’re on your own, be careful who you listen to about religion and spirituality. Even the devil has its own religion.
Sixth, I’m sorry that whenever we drive around, we are always at risk of accidents caused by kamote drivers. If I were to choose, I would have not let you see counter-flowing, reckless, speeding, cutting-in-line or just plain-stupid public utility vehicle drivers, motorcycle riders, and even private car drivers (this include irresponsible car owners who use the sides of the streets as their personal parking spaces). But I have no choice. Please note though that not all drivers are like that, my dear. Some of us strive to follow traffic rules because we are responsible, civilized people living in a suppose to be civilized society. Your father is a licensed driver, therefore, I always act like one – on and off the road. When you’re of age and earned your own driver’s license (the right way), cherish it; value it. It’s a privilege not a right. You have the obligation to behave as a responsible driver.
Finally, if you were to choose a career, let being a lawyer be the last in your choices. We have so many of them already. In fact, most of our government officials are lawyers. With the current status of our country, I guess that says a lot. Be something else.
I will still do my best to teach you about serving your country. But if you refuse, I can’t blame you.
I use to be a future Supreme Court justice.