Filipinos on News Events Part 2: Reaction to Daniel Wagner’s "The Philippine Bus and Miss Universe"12:55 AM
My older sister from Malaysia showed me this article at the height of the hostage-taking of Hong Kong tourists by Rolando Mendoza. After reading Daniel Wagner’s "The Philippine Bus and Miss Universe", I immediately messaged my older sister in YM and talked about it. I totally reacted as I can relate to it because we ourselves have close loved ones who are like the ones described in the articles. I will dwell on that later as I mention the article’s three main points that we Filipinos should think about in order to lift the Philippines from its sufferings it is experiencing now. But first off, you can read the article on:
1st point: For many years pundits have commented that the Philippines appears to be heading backwards economically and politically, while many parts of Asia barrel toward middle income status and have maturing democracies.
The difference here is, many of the countries experiencing political instability and economic dislocation don't have the things the Philippines has: agricultural self-sufficiency, a high literacy rate, and a largely homogeneous population. One Asian country that possesses these qualities - Indonesia - has managed to transcend monumental political turmoil, turn its situation around, get on the path to democracy, stay there, and become a darling of the international investment community. The Philippines had this in the 1960s. Why can't it have it now?
Don’t we agree with this? We have a lot of resources, many (if not all) Filipinos can and have reached college, thus we do have high literacy rate and we do have a high population. But why can’t we get up from the chaos and suffering that we are experiencing now, when Indonesia, which is almost the same as ours have already lifted up from their chaos and is one of the Asian countries that has a good economic growth. Why can’t our country be like that? Thus comes the second point.
2nd point: When I lived in the Philippines from 2003 to 2007, I was asked, what is the difference between the Philippines and Indonesia? My answer was, "In Indonesia, they have hope." I came to the conclusion that in spite of all the things the Philippines has going for it, its people didn't demand enough of themselves, or of their government. Political apathy and a willingness to accept a low common denominator of performance have taken their toll on the psyche of the Philippine people.
This is a quality that we, Filipinos, lack: we don’t demand of ourselves, meaning we just be content with what we have and use the term “bahala na” when asked about our future. We don’t push ourselves to bring out the real potentials in us and to become better than the usual. And this is one of the reasons why our country is suffering.
I’ll give one example. When I was still a Program Researcher in one of the major TV networks, one of our tasks is to find case studies for our stories and most of them we find in Tondo, Manila. In one of my field work there, I was able to talk to one of the residents and suddenly asked her “Bakit hindi nag-aaral ang mga bata dito? Lahat naman kayo may potensyal na baguhin ang sitwasyon niyo, bakit hindi niyo subukan? (Why doesn’t the kids her study? All of you have potentials of changing your situation here, why don’t you try)”. She answered, “Ganon na talaga ang buhay eh. Kahit anong gawin naming di na magababago ang buhay dito (That’s how life is. Whatever we do, the situation here won’t change)”. Then, I have this very close loved one who graduated from a good course and has the skills of going to the top. But instead of working, he just stays at home and does not demand from himself to do better. The same goes with his partner, and the children are having a hard time with this because their parents are not trying to get a job when they both have good educations from tops schools o begin with. Plus, I always hear them say “bahala na”, which is quite irritating.
No wonder we don’t live up to our potential! We don’t even try and just leave it to “bahala na”. Filipinos are very talented people and we all have the potential in the world to demand ourselves and do our very best in all aspects of life. We need to push ourselves more in order to get our strengths out and help the country in having a better life. We give out excuses to compensate for the mistakes we have done and just leave it at that. Which turns us to the third and final point.
3rd point: If the Philippines wants to get its act together and live up to its potential, it needs to demand more of itself. It can achieve this by stopping making excuses for its failures and ending its acceptance of the lowest common denominator. President Aquino promised to put an end to nepotism and corruption in government. The people should make sure he does this. When the police screw up a hostage rescue, the people responsible should be fired. And when a beauty queen blows an attempt to become the glory of the Philippine people, it should be recognized as such.
Most Filipinos are always making excuses to compensate the mistakes we have done. In the hostage-taking, we heard a LOT of excuses from different sectors as to why everything had one wrong. Media blamed the government for not acting immediately, government blamed the media for showing too much information on the hostage-taking, as well as blaming the citizens for being too close to the crime scene. Citizens blamed on the police that they did not handle the situation well---and so on and so forth. Stop making excuses and just admit to yourselves that you all made mistakes. Accept it, and from there, push yourselves to do better in case another situation like this comes. Maria Venus Raj lost the Ms. Universe crown because she was not able to answer the question right. So Filipinos again give excuses as to why and even blamed the judge for giving a difficult question. Another excuse is she was nervous. Everyone gets nervous in any kind of competition!
The main point is, Filipinos should stop making excuses and admit to our mistakes! Then, learn from these mistakes and get back up to push yourself harder in doing better. If we want our full potentials to come out, then we just don’t sit around and wait. We work for them to come out and use it for good use to contribute to changing our country for the better. Filipinos must demand more from the government to stop corruption as they have promised. Let the events that happened the past week be a lesson for us to change our “bahala na” attitude and strive bring out the best in all of us.