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Friday, February 17, 2017

The Self-Defeating Principles Of The Philippines

I had written a rather harsh article here in GRP about the immaturity of many Filipinos and Filipino society in general. Indeed, I must agree with a few commenters that the article was rather extreme because it openly criticized the inherent issues of the Philippines. However, while I do admit that the article must have felt like slap in the face of some people, I feel the need to elaborate further on how I formed the basis of my opinions.

President BS Aquino and family at the Luneta mass celebrated by Pope Francis. What do Filipinos seek?(Source: @NoynoyAquino on Twitter)
President BS Aquino and family at the Luneta mass celebrated by Pope Francis. What do Filipinos seek?
(Source: @NoynoyAquino on Twitter)
Over the years, I’ve come to notice that many Filipinos hold on to vague ideas and principles they don’t entirely understand. Sure, they know what they mean on a superficial level but the meaning of the said ideas and principles often fly way over their heads. I already know that a lot of Pinoys aren’t really all that sharp when it comes to understanding the “spirit” of given terms, but I only know so many people who fully understand the concepts that our society holds on to and places in high regard. In the end, not only do we, as a people, fail to understand the principles we follow, we end up doing the exact opposite of what these principles are suppose to espouse on us.

Allow me to elaborate further:
The Philippines is a Catholic/Christian Country
This is probably one of the most common things you’ll hear people around here like to say. While yes, the Philippines probably has the largest Catholic population here in South East Asia, we still seem to be behind some of our brothers and sisters in the West when it comes to understanding Christian values. Of course, we’re not the only ones with problems. I mean our fellows in Latin America have a lot of the same problems like corruption and poverty and then there’s the rather rowdy folk of Ireland who are often less than friendly with their Protestant siblings. Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the fact that most Pinoys don’t really understand the values often highlighted in Christian ideals. While the Bible does indeed support the idea of being “family-oriented”, many Pinoys take this the wrong way and think that they should only look out for their own family and screw everyone else over. Also of note is how women are often treated in the basic Filipino household and are taught to be submissive to the point of being mere slaves to their husbands. Lastly, there is the way that some people think that being poor is actually a blessing even though the poor of the Philippines are the source of problems like overpopulation, corruption and crime.
While Pope Francis’ visit to the Philippines was certainly welcome, will it really have any lasting effect on people? Now that the Pope has just left, will it be back to the same crime and corruption as before? I remember when Pope John Paul II first came to the Philippines many years ago and was welcomed with the same amount of gusto. Unfortunately, very little has changed since then. Only time will tell whether or not Pope Francis’ visit will have any positive effect on the country in general.
The Philippine Media is Child Friendly
I do not know whether I should find this statement hilarious or depressing. Truth be told, while the local media does focus on keeping its programs G-rated, one can also note that many of their shows (even the news) is so simple as if they seem to think that majority of their viewers are children. Indeed, after watching translated foreign films, I noticed that they cut out scenes where the characters make explanations and theories as if they already assume that majority of their viewers will not be interested or will not understand anyway. It’s as if nearly all the programs on local TV aren’t just meant for children but also for adults with the minds of children.
I will also note that the Philippine media isn’t exactly a good influence on children either. As cited by another article by ChinoF, the media seems to show nothing but dysfunction, infidelity and immaturity as themes. Almost all of them are the same save perhaps for the title and name of the characters and they may add the odd plot element every now and again such as a gay adulterer, werewolves, vampires, slime/water/jellyfish (whatever) girls, a robot boy and other even more absurd elements. What’s worse is that these kinds of shows are all that can be seen on TV these days with very little else in between. Despite what the MTRCB might say about focusing on being child-oriented, are dysfunction, infidelity and immaturity the ideas we want to imprint on the youth of today? Is it really any surprise these days that broken families, teen (or even pre-teen) pregnancy and delinquent children are on the rise?
Also, after reading this, I’ve come to think about whether or not we are portraying children in a positive light. While I do see some fair treatment of them on TV, there’s still no denying that we make fun of children at every turn with programs like Goin’ Bulilit and movies like My Big Bossing that make children look like the slave/toy of adults. There’s still the underlying feel that children are merely objects compared to the adults of any show and are only there for the entertainment of the adult cast and audience. I often long for the day when there will be a local TV program that will be able to accurately depict the life of street children.
The Philippines is a Developing Country
I have occasionally met critics who cite that the Philippines is developing. However, here’s the rub: Developing into what? Are we developing into a first world country or are we developing into a grim dystopia? That is the question I’d like to ask these people about the country.
While I have seen some, note some, positive changes in the country, these are mostly small and superficial and can hardly be called a victory for the the Philippines. Whatever positive development the country undergoes, it’s quite clear that only a small number of people will benefit from it. If anything, these so-called “developments” only drive a deeper wedge between the upper and lower classes of the Philippines. The Philippines already has a “feudal” mindset with political dynasties being all the rage in this day and age but these “positive” changes might even outright make the Philippines a literal feudal country.
For instance, if there are economic developments, take note that prices and taxes only go up and the common citizens are often barred from whatever benefits these may bring. In the end, the rich only get richer and the poor get poorer. If we want lasting change in our society, then I think we should make “developments” that benefit all just as South Korea made changes to its system that benefited the country as a whole rather than just focusing on just the upper echelons of society.
I do not make my statements lightly. I do not criticize to put the hearts of Filipinos down. I criticize because I think we can and should be better people. We have so much potential as a nation. Let’s not let it go to waste.


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