Better Philippines post yesterday resonated with my own sentiments. And much of the thinking that I have nowadays somewhat reflects the thinking of other Get Realists.
The title "hero" or "bayani" has been bandied around and used like cheap perfume on everything ranging from paying taxes to going overseas where our people are treated like crap.
The reason why it gains currency and will continue to gain currency is because of the Filipino mindset that sees itself as a victim in need of being rescued all the time.
Belief in magic, or even symbolic actions aimed at conjuring something, is another facet of the Filipino mindset that leads many to pray for things to happen instead of actually doing things to make things happen.
Folding paper cranes and maybe even dancing around a red candle while smothering both arm pits with peanut butter jelly may sound interesting and poetic, but what does it really do?
Being a Filipino is hard and it starts being tough from the moment you are born a Filipino. It continues to be tough till the day you die and even the process of dying places a burden on one's family, therefore adding more hardship to an already tough life.
If people had a choice between being born Filipino and being born a Swiss, I'd guess that people would choose to be Swiss -- you'd be white, most likely blond as well as blue eyed, you'd have the best public education, the state would spend for all of your needs, and you'd be assured of a high paying job.
One thing that salves the badly battered Filipino psyche is the idea that they can change their circumstances by simply willing it.
Hope, just like shabu or rugby, numbs the mind as well as body and makes people willing to bear enormous hardship. And things remain the same.
Noynoy Aquino's story about the Customs employee is perhaps a perfect dramatization of how Filipinos cling on to the idea of a need for a hero and the power of magic.
Mayroon isang tauhan ng customs na nakausap ang ating isang kasamahan (Na matagal na tayong inuudyok tumakbo.) Tinanong niya, “Tatakbo na ba?” Ang sagot naman ng ating kasamahan ay, “Tatakbo na nga!” At ang sinabi ng taga-customs ay, “Salamat!” Tinanong siya kung bakit siya nagpapasalamat. At ang kanyang sinabi ay, “Salamat naman at pwede na po muling mangarap.”
The story is an obvious play at people's imagination and implies that when Aquino is elected as President, the customs employee's wish for a better life will be automatically fulfilled.
What happens when that customs employee realizes that Noynoy Aquino can't provide the solutions to the problems that he faces everyday on the job? Oh the usual protests, if at all customs employees can be counted on to march against corruption.
The better message and certainly the one which will really help is this, "If you want a better country, you have to work for it and sacrifice for it."