|'The Filipino fighter', courtesy of toonpool.com|
Words by Bing Mesias
Unless you're an alien from Mars, I take it that you normally browze the net if not daily, ( like computer - addict me) then at least once a week, don't you? Only a very earth-shaking event can drag me away from it but the more I read, the more I find to my consternation that yes, we really delight in finding flaws everywhere and on whoever is there who proves to be an easy target. And for any reason too, just whatever reason there is, under the sun. We see faults lurking in the shadows even if there were none. It is as if we delight in finding flaws everytime. No, all the time!
Is looking for the positive in others and on the brighter linings in the sky so difficult for us? Can't we just hope and be very, very optimistic even as we are riddled with what seem to be an endless season of storms in our lives?. Despite "the bludgeonings of chance, our heads may be bloody but unbowed," so what reason is there to see nothing but gloom and accept loss and defeat at every turn, before they even happened? If they ever happened at all, that is?
" Easy for you to say "let's hope" because you sleep each night on a soft bed, eat what you want anytime" - retorts an online pessimist when I said to look at the bright side because all these too, shall come to pass.
Okay, okay, things indeed look so bad at times, but is that enough reason to wring our hands in defeat? Not to hope anymore? That would be death itself - to stop dreaming is giving up on life even before it has actually ended. Seems a contradiction for one who swears to be a born loser but yes Josefa, before I admitted to being a born loser, I was first an avowed born winner. But never mind me, back to this being so negative it always seems so easy to look for the flaws rather than on what looks to be going just right. And ending up shooting our foot in the process!
We ousted the unlamented Marcos in a popular uprising and put in his stead the never-before- heard- of Cory. Ah, everything seemed just right, the whole world applauded and proclaimed us heroes for ousting a tyrant without the loss of a human life. Would that it ended there but no! Even as the economy looked so good again as the confidence of the world's leaders bolstered our confidence in ourselves, we became restless and looked for the flaws again. The monster in us reared its ugly head for the umpteenth time. "Cory, walang alam" - said the very bright among us who thought they were born to be the country's saviors and the only ones with the ability to lead.
And so we woke up one morning to see the economy back to zero as Honasan and his adventurous cohorts found reasons after reasons to overthrow what a whole nation tried to put right. Again, not a few saw nothing but the negative under Cory and we elected Ramos who again, many perceived as the most travelled president next only to Marcos. Electing Estrada whose movie antics convinced the majority that what they saw on screen would translate to what he would do once elected - a protector of the poor and the oppressed, it wasn't long before the swashbuckling idol proved that he too, had feet of clay. Yes he was indeed a protector, but only of the many women in his life to whom he gallantly provided with only the best in life- including a mini Boracay pool in one mansion as a manifestation of his love ala Taj Mahal.
So we ousted him, and no tears were shed over his short rule at the helm. We put in his place "the Gloria in excelsis" whose family's excesses and her own unsatiable greed for power left us so weary we accepted our fate till her reign ended - the longest in the country's history incidentally.
Now comes "the Pinoy" and notwithstanding the growth of the economy which 'tis said, is now the fastest in Asia, is again the subject today of so much villification. We so want to believe what the economic experts say, but one needs only to browze the internet to read so much name-calling that makes me reel even as I thought that I'm so hardened I can take almost anything. So many negative perceptions of him leave me so discouraged I start to wonder what is indeed in the Filipino psyche to make us so flawed that we always glory in looking for what isn't right in our perception of our world. Why we aren't ever satisfied with the scheme of things and together, just try to move forward. Why we don't even try to unite and together rally behind a leader whose mettle we still have to judge because he is after all just 2 years in the Office. We go into another of our endless self-flagellation.
"Abnoy", "abnormal-looking" are just a few of the the name-callings that I read online, many coming from OFWs, unfortunately. "Sobrang taba," "kita ang ngipin sa gilagid, " of one lady witness for the government at the infamous Corona trial whose only fault was to be seated on the stand to be villified by the so-called very concerned citizens who wanted change. By not changing Corona that is - who became the object of a misplaced idolatry on that side of the globe this time. A case of misplaced trust, if you ask me. But this is neither here nor there.
Now I am all for criticism but only for what's constructive - the type of criticism that would make right what we perceived as wrong. But name calling? For criticising another's face which I am sure the owner herself would have wanted changed if only it's within her power to do so? For calling a sitting president "abnormal" and "abnoy?" "Low IQ?" Has he been examined by the medical experts and found wanting? So why do we sit in judgment?
C'mon, isn't that the worst kind of hitting below the belt? If we don't respect the guy, can't we just respect the Office that he holds and because he represents the whole of us? Unless the name callers of course forget that they are still citizens of the country and not of the country where they are only working temporarily? And what does that speak of us? A country of "bobos" too because we elected into office one so low in IQ?That follows, does it not?
In the few times I had the chance to travel out of the country, I marvel at the oh, so many modernities and comforts that the people of these countries take so much for granted but the same modernities which seem to forever elude us. Comforts which I doubt if I'll ever see in my lifetime in my own hometown. And my conclusion almost always just boils down to this;
These people concentrated on nation -building, and though "THEY CRITICIZED, THEY DID NOT DESTROY." While they harped on their leaders' perceived weaknesses, they likewise saw what were done right. The flaws they saw alright, but these they saw as reasons to correct. Because yes, they are one people and they live in the same one country and they know it.
How about us? Do we realize that? Do we ever really understand that even as we hurt others, we also hurt ourselves in the process? That by forever criticizing, we instead self- destruct?
We have the Muslim rebels- the MNLF and the MILF - and they never tire destroying each other even as they harp on wanting the same reforms. One president after another ruled the country through the decades and the NPAs NEVER came down from the hills - they never stopped fighting the government whoever sat as president. They never stopped bombing our bridges, burning our towers, destroy our schoolbuildings, pound into pulpbits expensive government machineries, so that we have to rebuild and buy each time at so much cost to our country's coffers. Money that could have been spent elsewhere to develop the country we instead spend on expensive repairs. Nobody, just nobody ever pleased them. No, US!
The NPAs who, even among themselves, purged those whom they believed as traitors to their ideologies, whatever these ideologies are, never stopped destroying and killing. They don't even see eye to eye most of the time and so they can not trust enough not to kill each other.
And then there's the army too, lest we forget. Our army who should be the nation's defender, but how many times did they try to destroy the very country they swore to protect? How many coups, how many small-time capers have they done - shaking not only the country's economy again and again and again but ensuring in the process too that what we began we always have to rebuild? Reason why until now we are still on our knees even as our Asian neighbors are enjoying the good life? That because while they built, we constantly destroyed?
So why can't we ever really see what is good in us? About us? And thus ensure in the process that yes, we can perhaps be truly great again? That is, if we had ever been, in the first place?
Or come to think of it, do we even want to be great? Because how can we be, if we have made what seems to be a favorite Filipino pastime - destroying ourselves and our leaders with so much pessimism, our endless fault-finding, our secularization? By our forever wanting to see only the worst in each other? Indeed, how can we even take off when we have made it so heavy for us just to stand upright?
SO TELL ME, " ARE WE BORN SADISTS? "