Monday, January 3, 2011

Haikus on Filipino Psyche

Manana Habit (Tagalog)
Oras na laan,
‘Wag mong pagaksayahan,
‘Wag pagsisihan

If time runs fast then
Get up and make things happen
Choice won’t be taken

Utang na Loob
Mabuting tanim,
Diyos na ang bahala
Sa aanihin

Sense of Gratitude
If you plant a seed,
God will reward your great deeds
You can take the lead

Amor Propio
Balat sibuyas
‘Pag nagpatuloy, ito’y
Nasirang landas

Sometimes we feel hard
But sometimes it’s a hazard
A negative sense

Ningas Kugon
Kung sa umpisa’y
Mahusay at wagi sa
Huli ay wala

Ningas Kugon (English)
A good beginning
Should be rewarded if it’s
Best done ‘til the end

Bahala Na
Diyos ay gabay
Tao ang aagapay
Sa gawang tunay
God is eternal
To guide man’s work ideal
It lies upon us

Ang kahihiyan
Dapat pangalagaan
Ingatang lubos

It is more human
When keeping shame in our hands
Never be in vain

Hindi masama
Saluhan ang ‘yong kapwa
Bigyang halaga

Getting Along With
Blending with is so good
It shows passion for others
With elating sense

Parody, a True Filipino Art

    Foreigners say that we Filipinos are the greatest and the most skillful imitators. We are copycats so to say. In fact, it has been a truth for decades. The Philippines is likewise considered as nesting grounds for plagiarism and piracy which really make good money for some irresponsible and seemingly indecent individuals. Perhaps the value of being great imitators is now in stored in our consciousness as Filipinos ourselves. It could either be a positive or negative attribute to our cultural heritage. Some (Or may be a majority? We will never know) may even quip that Filipinos truly lack originality. If evidences do not lie, a citation could be a great help.

    Remember Captain Barbell and Darna? How about Barok? Well, these are some of the well-known comic characters which could be proclaimed as ‘imitated’ versions of Superman, Wonder Woman and Fred from the Flintstones respectively. There are also numerous characters that our Filipino artists and film makers used to acquire from foreign creative minds. In music and fashion, imitations do sell millions in fact but those won’t be mentioned in this entire article.

    However, looking at the height of optimism, Filipinos have that outstanding dexterity if imitation is being talked about right here. It takes gallons of efforts and ideas to imitate something may it be in music, art, cinematography, etc. especially if the items from these indicated fields are so institutionalized and high paid. And so, creativity is still there. You get the picture over here. Resourcefulness comes into picture because no wonder Filipinos are 100% resilient in performing effective imitations of anything. Our fellows are naturally inclined with this matter so to speak. Well, economy is alive because of these things. Thanks! (No, not really I guess).

    If creativity is at stake here, maybe we can consider ‘parody.’ Yes, let us have the art of parody as the best example of how Filipinos adopt this talent though it’s actually imitation too. For a little background, parody came from the Greek word, paroidia (from para which is ‘beside’ and aidein which is ‘to sing’). In other words, it is an act of satirical singing by imitating someone. For the early Greeks, it was more of an entertainment and having parody was an essential part for plays. Thus, it was one of the earliest literary works if considered. By the time of Jesus Christ, the Romans used parody to attack political enemies and rebels who would try to overthrow the powerful Roman Empire. Moving the hands of time to the present time, parody is still relived especially by talented Filipinos and recording artist wannabe’s. Try to listen to the local radio stations and you will find out. Disc jocks will surely pin your bellies out with parodies of the most played foreign and local music oftentimes blended with ‘green’ matters. Companies also exerted their efforts to promote their products by parody of course. Even politicians will pour out the best for campaigns via parody of their jingles in television, radio and also in scouting your streets and disturbing your beauty rest. Hence, parody has become a part of our culture and tradition. It woke up the positive framework of our conceptual thinking that there is something ‘good’ that could come from imitation.

    Michael V., a famous comedian and TV host here in the Philippines claimed his way to fame not just by making funny antics but of course by imitating foreign and local commercials plus impersonating the prominent personalities like Former President Arroyo, talk show host Boy Abunda and news anchor Mike Enriquez and disguising into someone and will roll out on streets just to fool everyone and produce laughing moments afterwards. But his career never stopped there. He even discovered his long-lost talent in line of parody (aside from being a singer/rapper-songwriter already). He had written many laugh-out-loud lyrics that would fit an imitated song choice. He even compiled it in an album and was sold out in the market. He just got credits for it. One should really try to browse his ‘works of art’ in YouTube and other video blog sites.

    The Filipino Psychology should publish and make research on the concept of Filipino parody. This can be considered a world-class talent. We could even be better than Americans whose works appear to be corny enough. Filipinos in such a sense must seek for themselves a pursuit for excellence. We must dismantle the negative ideologies that no good could be found in imitating because originality and integrity lies ahead. But how could imitation be negative or perhaps destructive to our originality if it’s the one that rejuvenates hope for the Filipinos that despite being downtrodden, we could still laugh and sing our lungs out? Filipinos are happy people by nature and by nurturance. Filipino parody makes life less serious. Through it, we see reality and we earn learning points from the misdemeanors of our political system and the chaos our country has been into. It reflects on the true blue values and principles only we Filipinos can claim as our own. I think, that is the true concept of originality in a different way.

    So I remember this quote: “It does not mean that if a thing is very ridiculous, you could not get any sense from it.”

    It spoke for itself, right?

Just My Luck!

    When the news about the winning of 700 million peso jackpot in Lotto for the last couple of months broke out, many were truly surprised and some were even frustrated hoping that they would be the ones who will bring home the eye-popping jackpot. Luckily, only one got the best of fate to win the prize. He or she remained anonymous at this point in time so to protect his or her identity and prevent petty crimes to happen. Many Filipinos blurted out, “Ang swerte naman niya!” and almost everybody expressed the same thing. Yes, probably, Filipinos really think that this winner is indeed, lucky. Not quite if facing reality itself.

    Putting myself in the shoes of the jackpot winner, I may have won the biggest prize ever bid in Lotto but the ways to get it at hand seem difficult. Why? The Filipino psyche could have an appropriate answer. Of course, going to Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) may took a lot of effort because at the first place, I will be careful in revealing my identity and if a single person in the office just knew something about it, I will definitely be in trouble in the sense of asking for balato, a term sharing one’s own fortune. But the dilemma does not only end there. Before getting the money itself, papers and important files will be laid upon me and there is really a dire need of signing all of these stuffs which will really take grueling hours. Besides, that 700 million peso jackpot will never be mine as a whole- partiality took place. Once I got my part, people (even the security guard) on my way outside will definitely wait for me to ask lots of balato. They would really wait and ask for it like I am some kind of a celebrity-turned-politician. I will definitely be exposed badly and my security now is at risk. I may have needed a body guard and personal assistants plus a bulletproof van (just an exaggeration) but how will I do such a thing if I am just an average Filipino who may have lived in barung-barong with no job and just got a not-to-mention dramatic past? Handling and spending the money will just bring headaches for sure. I am not a businessman neither a town mayor nor an economist to invest the money, lay it out for developmental projects and make contingency plans on how to manage it well. Maybe it’s better to be back to being a poor. A normal life I used to have.

    With the above statements, do you still consider me lucky?

    The Filipinos have already considered the indestructible bond between malas (bad luck) and swerte (good luck) in their kamalayan. It has been a tradition of searching for good fortune to establish a life full of positive vibes and success which entail wealth, good health and financial achievements. Long before the conquistadores step on our land, our ancestors already organized a system of beliefs regarding good luck and bad luck. Remember that the ancient Filipinos are nature worshippers and they only rely on the forces of the environment which eventually resulted to the formation of the so-called superstitions or pamahiin. It is a must to follow these to avoid bad luck that could cause eternal sadness, tragedies, plagues, and might even attract evil spirits to dwell in our body. If these superstitions will be followed, good luck will also knock on one’s door in terms of money, harmonious relationships, fame, power, well-being and other material rewards. In spite of their non-science basis, superstitions have become a widely renowned concept in Filipino Psychology and in our culture and history. Superstitious beliefs became our guide in making our choices regarding a certain subject. Pinoys look forward to these as parts of our daily crazes and as time passed by, we are still into horoscopes, fortune-telling,palm reading, feng shui consulting, astrological and numerical analysis, and bunch of other things that we used to amaze ourselves with so to swerve from malas or bad luck. Funny but true, these cultural templates undeniably make money and celebrities as well.

    Countless ideologies of good luck and bad luck can be derived from different cultures and philosophical accounts. There is one concept about destiny- that one is really born lucky and destined to be fortunate for the rest if his or her life. On the other hand, there can also be one who is born unlucky and will be suffering as long as or she lives depending upon the analysis of that individual’s birth chart. Another, the stuffs like the number 13 and the black cat. We usually connote our thoughts on luck on particular events and by religious scriptures as well. So our values and beliefs truly affect on how we distinguish malas from swerte. Numbers and symbols also are factors that could determine the validity of fortune analysis. Sounds interesting I bet. Most of the Filipinos are more of phenomenological than behavioristic. We are experientially centered and our enlivened actions are not given entire focus by the behavioral oculars.

    Pinoys always have these ideas of learning from mistakes from the past and recognizing the root cause of dilemmas and mishaps. We overstate situations and every little detail on it. The formation of the concept of malas and swerte may just be due to overreaction and bewildered thinking. Since it has been a part of our cultural heritage and identity reestablishment, it should stay existent and respect should likewise be handed over but there should be no force for compliance and conformity. We are democratic and courtesy to others’ outlook and flavor of life should retain to our conscience as proponents of Filipino Psychology.

Personally, I don’t believe that either malas or swerte exists. May be these two elements of Filipino customs have been taglines only to individuals or groups who are at least fortunate and to those who are for the mean time, lost some good charms. Life is a wheel so they say. We are all fortunate in the name of God. He will never ever give us bad luck. It is just that we have to learn to protect and maintain the gift of fortune that He has given us by the time we began to exist until to the point when we will harvest the good fruit. Humans are autonomous, we have the freedom of choice of whether we do right or wrong. Whatever the consequences are, it is neither malas nor swerte, it is still a jackpot for when we do right, success comes in, when we do wrong, we experience things that will redirect us from any shortcoming again.

This 2011, I hope these thoughts will somehow touch our minds and souls as Filipinos.

Violence, anyone? No, Thanks!

    Since the time of the Romans, violence and gore had become one of the most popular forms of entertainment not only for the elites but for plebs as well. These entertainment scenes include the persecution of the Christians. Many suffered under the reign of the infamous emperor, Nero. He had many people executed by crucifixion, burning alive at the stake, feeding to the hungry lions and dogs, stoning to death and decapitation. In spite of these pitiful scenarios of gore, the early Romans were fascinated by such forms of entertainment. They enjoyed watching these in fact like movies or sports games. Speaking of sports, the Romans had athletic games that would surely be bloody- chariot racing, lion hunting and a battle brawl between gladiators. Without bloodshed and brutal death, the show would definitely be boring. The audience even applauded and cheered for all of these events. It was a pop culture at that time indeed.

    Going to the Philippines in the Spanish times, our ancestors got also this knack for watching criminals, filibusters and subversives being executed may it be by hanging, by firing squad or by beheading. It could probably Rizal who was the most prominent Filipino to be executed. He was seen as a celebrity- a poet, writer, nationalist, scientist, a traitor, a subversive and nothing but the living soul of rebellion. A multitude had witnessed his trial and death which only showed that no matter how famous an individual was, nobody could escape from the threat of being killed. In fact, executions were just warnings by the Spanish administration to all of the indios who would make an attempt betray Spain by sacking the Catholic Church or overthrowing the government by revolution. For many,it was like a blockbuster hit seeing someone dying under the hands of the oppressors.

    So in the modern times, human rights are already attained by everyone. There are no bloody executions anymore but still, the Filipinos are still fond of looking at the things more what they used to be. Violent entertainment goes up with spirit. It is still alive and kicking. Yes, but already shape shifted. Pretty much like sabong (although it originated from the Spanish Era) wherein either of the fighting cocks should die to proclaim one the winner. Death will be the determinant of the winning cock. Actually, there is a new trend of sabong here in the Philippines. Not only cocks but even dogs and horses are used for entertainment likewise. These animals are made to fight until death. Aside from the excitement it brings, sabungeros (cock fighters) are wiser enough to even make money out the latter-day craze. Boxing is considered too as very much fascinating not only in the country (as you see, there are prevalent indie boxing shows nationwide) but globally especially in third-world countries. Death may not be the basis for winning but the effect of seeing men (and even women) risking their bodies to the hard-hitting punches, smashing head butts and clashing cross bodies made its way to attract fans all over. Together with wrestling, kick boxing, mixed martial arts matches, boxing could be lined up to an appropriate tagline which is ‘sports entertainment.’      

    The matter does not end there. Swerving from sports, I guess the media also plays a major role to how many Filipinos became so aware and interested. Before the Maguindanao Massacre and the Quirino Grandstand Hostage Fiasco, Filipinos have already been stern with must-see headlines concerning violence and brutality. As a matter of fact, our daily bulletin will never be complete without police reports which unveil proofs of how dangerous it is outside. Heinous crimes like rape, rape-slay, kidnap for ransom, murder, suicide, bombings, ambushes, media killings, massacres, hostage-taking incidents, holdups and other eye sore reports like shootouts and road accidents trounced the consciousness of Filipino families that indeed, no wonder, metro street sides are now cradles of every form of crime. So, preoccupied thoughts begin to inhabit the minds of the Filipinos causing intense anxiety.       

    Western TV shows undoubtedly add a little flavor to our daily dose of viewing especially the ones with crime-scene themes and twisted-bloody-mess features. Besides the mere fact that these shows are just ‘shows,’ the effect will be some sort of different depending upon the perception of the viewer. Thoughts and beliefs, if not flexible enough, will definitely be affected by such programs- caution ahead.

    The concept of violence which enters into our consciousness as Filipinos could be influenced by multiple factors aside from those stuffs mentioned above. Our beliefs and thoughts toward the world around us bring impacts to our lives as well. Because of our interests in violent movies, shows and headlines, the way we conceptualize our society revolves around our perception. It is like a ricochet. We build our community with a thinking that it would be safe physically for those who will dwell into it. However, if we open ourselves to the concepts of violence because of various influences upon us, the community we used to build could be a different place- a spooky, grim and dangerous one.

    Of course, we cannot deny that the Philippines currently makes it to the top notch of the most dangerous place for journalists and tourists because of the numerous incidents that happened concerning the safety of foreigners who stay in our country. We can’t erase our fondness of violence because our nation itself became so much used to it. Historical accounts will be provident enough.

    Still, violence fondness will forever stay in our minds. This will be the template of Filipino psyche. Perhaps we cannot change the thoughts that lasted for centuries already but I guess with the flexibility of the Filipino mind, we can modify the way foreigners think about our nation. I believe, with existent Filipino values, we can dismantle the negativity that has dumped our country for so many years.


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Synopsis and Reaction on the Documentary, "Sa Tuna at Ginhawa" (I-Witness, GMA News and Current Affairs)

    The documentary features the individuals whom we know as the marginally functioning people in the present society- the urban/rural poor. They comprise the majority of the labor force in the country. The film documented these people’s lives as they struggle for a living via crossing the seas and oceans only to catch tuna. Indeed, fishing has become the primary source of livelihood for the natives of Polilio Islands. This style of life source is eventually a sense of survival for the islanders to ease poverty and its loyal subjects- hunger, overpopulation, inflation and unemployment. Sandra Aguinaldo who hosted the documentary clip in fact joined the group of fishermen in their quest of risking their lives across the roars of the sea waves to earn sufficient living for their families and downtrodden community.

    As these fishermen prepare for their departure, a mixture of emotions veiled the atmosphere. Folks and children alike waved their hands goodbye to the men they consider hope bringers. The whole community is in pursuit that the fishermen would embark safely and return with success. Uncertainties tainted the destiny of these men. The determined ones did not swerve from the drawing danger ahead.

    Thus it all began. Their boats smoothly crossed the waves rushing along the way. At first, the weather was calm and rejuvenating. The occupants of the boat settled themselves while handing down the equipments needed to get the job done. They had a few stuffs to eat and drink to satisfy enough their appetite. Almost everybody got so busy and it was a fine moment for documentation. Needless to say, life in the rocking boat was difficult especially if one is not used to expose himself near the vast seas and oceans. One might feel dizzy and could vomit already in an instant. However, if one does, an improvised urinal slash comfort space came to the rescue and it was just adjacent to the storage area of the boat where nets and various fishing items were well-kept. Although necessary materials were complete, these were not enough to proclaim that it was safe to face the obstacles that they would encounter. Lack of modern and complex safety gears made it more difficult.

    It took a march of minutes and hours before making it to the point of their objective of getting an abundant and fresh catch. At last, hopes began to rise as schools of tuna showed their glancing fins in the ocean’s surface. The delighted fishermen waited for no wrongdoing and immediately grabbed the opportunity to catch a lot of them. It took sweat, time and effort to accomplish the whole thing but it soon paid off. ‘All’s well that ends well’ so to speak.

    Perhaps the focus was for the safe comeback to their homes. It was a day to be called and darkness devours the light little by little and the maintenance of the boats attached to one another was the major dilemma and difficulties arise. Despite the exacerbating case, the fishermen thought of a quick resolution and never forgot to extend a helping hand even for a lone stranger who was also in search of a better fortune. With bags of tuna at hand, a keen sense of a successful return was within their reach.

    After the grueling venture for an abundant catch, the lovely morning and cool breeze finally embraced the fishermen. Waiting from the shore were their families and friends. It was like a hero’s welcome and what the men brought for these people were gifts from heaven as it was more likely considered. By evening, a gaiety get-together was held in celebration of the fishermen’s homecoming. It was already a tradition conspicuously. There were videoke fest, drinking spree and traditional feasting of tuna dishes for pulutan of course.

    As bags of tuna were brought to the town market, the demand was at its peak. The tuna industry was undeniably alive and kicking. A young fisherman was asked how much he earned for catching tuna. He stated that it depends on the demand, supply and market organization. However, he admitted that the highest he got so far was 3,000 pesos. The amount is already enough to provide a good cost of living for an average rural family in a couple of days.

    There are various aspects in the documentary that enter Filipino psyche. These include Pinoy-style strategies known better as either diskarte or pagkamaparaan, helpfulness, generosity specifically food sharing which is cradle of interpersonal relationships and pakikipagkapwa, resiliency and risk-taking. Once more, the image of poverty gave a slap shock in this documentary.

    A Filipino in such a sense will always find ways to make ends meet and overcome adversities not only for himself but for the welfare of his fellows as well. Being helpful and generous always come to a Filipino’s mind under any circumstances and knows no stranger. To make a living, a Filipino strives hard each day and eventually learns innovation with an aid from psychological and cognitive forces- intuition, creativity, clear judgment, etc. All of these come handy whenever a Filipino needs them and once he analyzed the situation he is into.

    The saddening part here is that the government is not able to provide social and community development programs in the rural or remote areas filled with marginally functioning individuals comprising about 70% of the working population of the country. These laborers in every outskirt of towns and provinces are not really given the chance to be inculcated on new trends of science and technology, vocational techniques to establish modern enterprises, to be open with entrepreneurial and commercial skills and above all, quality education. Ironically, these people make a ‘living’ but as they do it, they put their own lives in the line crossing oceans and seas to catch tuna without thinking of their own safety thus using old, rusty boats lacking any high-tech equipment and machine for survival. The Filipinos are adaptive to nature and have already been used to it for hundreds of years. Obviously, the natives are content about it but as time passes by, no development for economic and industrial attributes are attained so to cut it short, how will we engage in global relationships if the administration itself will not provide necessary projects for the betterment of all its citizens? This is truly ridiculous. And, we cannot blame the inhabitants of Polilio Islands for a lifestyle like what is witnessed by our very eyes. Their labor force is essential and for outlook, the fishermen were almost venerated as the modern-day heroes of their community.

    Filipino Psychology must have entailed this documentation for its conceptual framework and history must have a place for these unsung workers.

Synopsis and Reaction on the Documentary, "Basurero" (I-Witness, GMA News and Current Affairs)

The documentary depicts the grim fact that the media has been deriding for so long- poverty. The film also shows the street-bound Filipinos struggling for survival amid the hardships and unemployment status they are into. Jay Taruc made himself experience the life along the streets of Metro Manila by joining these individuals as they find ways to resolve hunger and earn a living in every matter they could.

    The documentary features the ‘pag-pag’ or the left-over foods which the Filipinos inhabiting in the life-threatening roadsides crave for just to ease their appetite. Rotten meat or to be more colloquial- “batchoy” was likewise revealed for their dinner. Those who live in the streets tried the best of their luck to rise up from the valley of poverty by doing desperate things like child labor and even risking their lives to plead for leftovers from sorts of carinderias and even to some fast food restaurants along the busy highways.

    Truly, this is a very huge blow towards the administration at that time. Even until now, poverty rate is at its peak and surveys and statistics show that everyday, things get worse as for every 10 Filipinos, 4 to 5 individuals could not manage to eat breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner. Others look onto it as ‘AlTangHap’ (Almusal, Tanghalian and Hapunan) , an acronym referring to a meal that will satisfy an appetite for the whole day, it is the layman’s term for breakfast, lunch and dinner in one which really explains that some of our fellow Filipinos are not able to eat at least three times a day. These cases will eventually lead to illnesses especially the leftovers which remain unhealthy for a diet due to the contamination of harmful microorganisms.

    The expository clips really caught the actual events that could explain the effects of corruption and the misdemeanor of the government. Numbers, lines, tabular presentations and other elements of economics will never ever deny the facts and these entailing information should be recognized by every citizen to make a move and fight against the worst-case scenarios brought about by incessant inflation and hunger. It is highly recommended to have documentaries like these to serve as an eye-opener. Needless to say but the scenes vividly revealed in Jay Taruc’s award-winning documentary will be a great help to make us realize that the Philippines is undoubtedly drudged into trouble and abyss of false hopes for a brighter future.

    Isn’t it ironic?

    This documentary was even applauded in various international conventions for documentary clips and films, as a matter of fact, it even won an award but despite of the cheers and the praises that we brought back home via this documentary, it was undeniable that the whole world still laughs at us and even foreign columnists denigrate the exposed situations on the Philippines’s urban scene.

    Relating this to Filipino Psychology, it was great however that the Filipinos at the abyss of poverty could still survive by innovating some ways to find alternatives for life preservation. However, two of the most admired traits of the Filipinos are being resourceful and resilient but should we be ever proud of it in perpetuity? One day our street-bound fellows will become tedious and will also build hopes and dreams to rise from the bottomless pit of poverty.  As a matter of fact, what the country needs is appropriate allocation of resources to provide employment and food and drugs to the unfortunate ones. We had undergone multiple forms of administrations beginning from the Pre-Hispanic Era up to the current Aquino Administration but all things are just the same. It felt like we are just living in darkness and false hope covered the whole society emptying the dreams for a brighter future. We Filipinos are really resistant or matiisin by nature but this Filipino psyche should not be the basis for us to stop aiming for a better community. It is pride boosting but at the same time, puts our own life at risk. It is really uncertain where this ‘resistance’ can bring us.

    Speaking away from the hunger factor, the title itself makes sense. The garbage became the primary resources of all the Filipinos of the lowest class. For them, this is the source of living and can be considered a contributory factor.

    Ridiculous as it seems that having tons of garbage in the metro cause stress, sickness and hazards to environment but how could this be a threat if it makes a living to the majority of the Filipinos especially in the marginal class? Can the Filipino Psychology still consider the adage, “may pera sa basura?” Can the poor last for longevity?

    These are the major questions that the documentary leaves for us to answer. Life in the Philippines can be recognized as one of the worst if talking about reality itself. At the same time, aside from looking at the horrible negativity, the best solution lies on the Filipinos themselves. Principles of autonomy and self-actualization should have been unleashed soon.

    This is being humanistic that an individual is an autonomous organism that nobody could resolve his or her dilemmas greater than himself/herself. With the external aid, only the Filipinos can have that ultimate power to find absolute solutions to the crux of the matters that the nation is facing at present.

    The society in general is concerned with this matter, the experts and leaders have the utmost power to change the dire image of the raped nation. To sum it up, we are all responsible for whatever will be the outcome of our dear country for the next couple of years.

    Aside from the negative side that this documentary showed, it is better if we could get learning points from what is currently happening to our weary nation and the rotten governance of our politicians. Let’s stop being ignorant. Some Filipinos tend to ignore all of these shameful situations because they are not affected and participating in campaigns against corruption and pollution is like a fire-and-brimstone sermon to them.

    The aim of Filipino Psychology as seen in this film is actually to predict and change the Filipino behavior that could lead the society for betterment and access to prosperity. Another is to reestablish our identity which is full of unnecessary and not-so-nice ideals. Although we could reconsider the traits and beliefs of a particular Filipino, it would still be good to make adjustments and adapt principles that could take away the traditional methodologies we are used to.

    Prior to being aware of the effects of corruption, political feuds and unabated inflation, it will be wiser to think first of the thoughts of man and his or beliefs that make all things possible as it seems. We became too submissive to the ideas of others. Most of the Filipinos conform to their fellows’ philosophy. What we have to do is to start thinking first what thought or idea is suitable depending on the form of government and leadership we have. In-depth analysis of the Filipino behavior is entirely needed for this matter.

    There is no need for a siege, no need for another revolution, only an adjustment to our way of thinking and adapting new ways for arriving at the point where resolutions can be best achieved. Judgment and analysis make it innovative the psychological way.

    Should we do this, a more prosperous nation can be ours for the taking…for at least in one point or another, it is never too late.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

“It’s not easy, to be…me” – President of the Philippines

Last August 23, 2010, the hostage fiasco at Quirino Grandstand, Manila left traumatic images to Filipinos and Hong Kong nationals alike. It was really horrific and made another deriding mark to our history. Different angles of the story behind the killing of 9 individuals including the hostage taker Rolando Mendoza. Blames and infuriation rose. Many were dissatisfied with the police operations, some were dismayed of the media and a few were blaming the bystanders who were just around the heinous scene of hostage taking. Others taught that it was to be blamed to the local government itself and of course, to Mr. President, Benigno “NoyNoy” Aquino. Aquino came into the picture after the bloody and tragic rescue operations. Tons of protests rained upon him regarding his administration to these kinds of situations. The whole incident brought a BAD start in his year as the Chief Executive. The justice system was likewise questioned prior to its effectiveness to the current government.

    A month after that, another violent crime just took place. It was the Bar Exam Blast in Taft Avenue in Manila. The bombing hurt many innocent students including Raissa Laurel (who had her legs amputated) from San Beda College who was right there for the traditional salubong for the bar examinees. Again, the blame was on the administration itself and so, President Aquino appeared to be the culprit aside from the suspect themselves.

    However, inferring the details from the two sides of crime story, it was all clear that they have something in common- you could almost get it!

    Yes, the president is mentioned all over again. We Filipinos have this nature of blaming and putting all the burdens to our leaders as the primary liability-holders to whatever may happen to our environment. Whenever there are mishaps like sunog, demolition, rally or any societal mayhem, some Filipinos would eventually confer to the media and make this panawagan to the President of the Philippines so the latter will offer some help and heed what they are asking for.

    There might be root causes to this Filipino psyche. One to be considered is the nature of leadership in the country, the form of organizational management we have and the types of leaders and officials we appoint and elect. In the Pre-Hispanic period, we already had the barangay system ruled by the datu or raja which showed autonomy among towns and governing was just that easy. It was a systematized form of government then. In the Spanish Era, we were handled by the governor-general and the local government distributed among provinces and pueblos. Even the Catholic Church took charge over the administration. By the American Regime, National Assemblies were formed in pursuit of entire independence for the nation. Under the Japanese, we were tried by tyranny. So times passed until Martial Law was implemented and People Power broke out of the shell. The Fourth Republic was introduced, the constitution was amended and three presidents crossed all through out after the transition but all things are the same until the late Former Senator Benigno “Ninoy’ Aquino Jr.’s unico hijo took the ball at hand last June 30, 2010.
    It could be theoretical but a factor analysis could be on how the Filipinos dealt with the leaders in various flow of government. We had become inferior and gave up our sole responsibilities to the people who own power and authority over us. We looked upon the datu/raja, governor-general, president as the highest and most powerful personnel in governmental office. We owe respect to our leaders perhaps but to the fact that those who are in the grandiose seats of office will become liberal-minded and makamasa? It is a different thing probably and even caused some of our fellow Filipinos who are in the lower class to lay down their hopes and dreams which are shattered by poverty and to the liberals as fondly called. There is no wonder why Former Presidents Ramon Magsaysay, Cory Aquino and Joseph Estrada came to be loved by the masses and evenly got them to win the presidential seat. They ate, worked and slept with peasants and the laws and provisions they signed were mass-friendly. They favored the poor and the marginally functioning knowing not that this will gradually lead to a negative trait palaasa.  

    Besides the detail mentioned above, we Filipinos may also have this form of retaliation against our leaders. As far we are concerned, in the colonial period, we were not only governed by the foreign administrators, we were also oppressed and restricted from achieving autonomy. There was also this tradition that the governor-general made surprising visits to town fiestas and people usually asked favors from the highest official in the country believing that it would be granted that easily for the latter had the greatest power to sign and amend laws.

    Another factor to consider is the local government. We have our mayors, governors and bunch of local officials (not to mention the barangay officers) to extend a helping hand that is within our reach. How come that most of the people in a community have to exert the fullest of their efforts just to make panawagan to the president? Maybe the local government is not that effective in reaching out the societies it handles.

    And last thing to consider is the exposure of the president in media. We are fond of tuning in to the press conferences and SONA’s of the chief executive and always wait for his/her plans for the country and his/her answers to alleged issues springing all of a sudden. Well, it counts.

    With a providence of all these factors and historical accounts, what is important is to fully analyze why does this sort of Filipino psyche exist? Do we always have to blame and summon the president of the Philippines in the turmoil we got into? Have we asked ourselves regarding our wrongdoing and shortcoming in the incident? We always open our mouths to criticize and to blame without getting to the point of knowing what is really behind the story. We always extend our hand and raise our voice only to ask for some help without asking our liability to what we did at the first place for a certain incident that has occurred.

     The Philippines is by nature democratic and not autocratic. We run our own country. We are free of this land. Aside from the heavyweight responsibilities of the president, we too have our own burden and sole obligations to our Motherland and it’s now time for their awakening. Maybe it’s not right to put negative ideas to these principles of democracy or is this becoming abusive anyhow?

    Still, it’s hard to become El Presidente and we can’t erase that to our consciousness. Just try listening to Five for Fighting Band’s Superman so everybody else would know.

    Now, you get the picture.