As the presidential election continues to get closer and closer, I write this article to give Filipinos a good idea on what I think is genuinely wrong with the country…
What’s somewhat disappointing among Pinoys is that we tend to focus too much on individuals and their many wrongdoings rather than what actually pushes them to do what they do. Truth be told, while I am no expert, I think that it is no longer individual people that is causing the Philippines to deteriorate but the kind of mindset our countrymen tend to possess. As I see it, the problem lies not in individual Filipinos but the dysfunction that is inherent in our culture so no matter who we elect into a position of power, as we retain the same counterproductive behavior, nothing will ever really change.
Okay, so before we begin, let me first mention something from the Bible…
I’m sure that most of you are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve. You know, the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden, where everything was said to be perfect and everyone was happy. Then the Devil, in the form of a snake, tempted Eve into eating the fruit of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, forever dooming the human race to sin. God gave the ancestors of humanity a stern talking to, telling them that he would’ve given them the fruit anyway and then booting them out of the Garden of Eden to fend for themselves.
Okay, let’s go back a bit to the point where the Devil was tempting Eve. Does anyone remember what the Devil said to Eve? Well, he did say a lot of things, but one of the things I remember best was this particular line: “If you eat the fruit, you will become like God!”
Yes, and there we have it, the greatest temptation of all, to become like God. To gain all the power and knowledge that make God what He is. This idea was somewhat explored in the film Bruce Almighty what with the protagonist gaining the powers of God but not fully understanding the responsibilities that come with being God.
So what does all this talk about God have to do with Pinoy dysfunction?
Well, the thing is, one should take a look at our various authority figures and you get some idea on what I’m actually talking about. See, while authority figures are necessary for a society to function well, what I’ve come to notice is that authority figures in the Philippines become very abusive of their powers. Now, I’m not saying they’re all like this but I’ve encountered my share of cops who use their authority to bully people into doing what they want them to do, politicians and government employees who like to extort money out of hapless citizens and there was even this one doctor in Olongapo who beat up a student through his authority as a senior member of the YMCA at a speech competition. The list goes on and on.
So what is it about Pinoy authority figures and why do they all too often like to victimize the people they’re supposed to serve?
The thing about Pinoy authority figures is they almost always demand people’s respect without first earning it. I’ve seen cops who’d rather use the firearms they carry to threaten and bully civilians rather than better protect the local populace from criminals. What’s worse is that they often work with various criminal organizations to begin with to better hoodwink people out of their prized possessions and destroy the peace in their lives.
This all comes down to the simple thought of “I deserve better” and is not only inherent in authority figures but even some of the common people as well. It all boils down to the feeling of being “above the law” rather than being subject to it, which again plays with the concept of being a god. Even common citizens with guns often feel entitled enough to take other people’s lives simply because of a misguided belief that they deserve better treatment and have every right to do as they please with others because they have the power to “end” another person.
Lack Of Respect
Here is another infuriating aspect of the Pinoy psyche. The problem with a lot of Pinoys is that they have so little respect for others and even for themselves sometimes. They think that the idea of freedom and democracy simply amounts to them being able to do what they want to do regardless of the consequences involved.
Again, this plays with the idea of us wanting to be gods as many of us simply love the idea of doing things without fear of consequence or retribution. Notice how when some people are even caught doing something bad they will even insist that they weren’t doing anything wrong. For instance, when people are loudly playing videoke and their neighbors tell them to keep it down, they’ll probably just get angry and even call out their neighbors on ruining their fun.
Another thing I can’t help but notice is our obsession with “shortcuts” to success instead of taking the long way which is usually more rewarding and imparts a sense of greatness to a person. After all, finishing something the hard way can teach one more lessons and give one a better idea of what they’re fighting for rather than simply doing something the easy way. Note for instance that spending money you worked hard for is a lot more difficult than spending money you acquired easily.
In Pinoy society, getting something the easy way is always preferable to getting things the hard way even if it means sacrificing one’s principles or morality. Indeed, many of us equate the idea of good to what is easy or simple and what is bad to what is hard or complex. This despite the fact that the Philippines is supposedly a “Christian” country and one of the biggest highlights of the Bible was the temptation of Jesus wherein the Devil offered him a shortcut to greatness but Jesus instead chose to do what was hard but right and, in the end, became even greater than what the Devil offered him to become.