Brazenly criminal

Nowadays, reading news about my motherland always comes with unbearable pain. The Filipino people are experiencing utmost suffering without any means of support. The government’s ineptitude over serving the people has become borderline criminal.

When reading the news, it’s clear to see that politicians hate Filipinos with the passion of a thousand suns. They abuse the resilience of the masses by politicking their way to the country’s coffers. Presently, our President has given up on efforts to curb the coronavirus outbreak, reopening the economy despite cases increasing by the thousands. No mass testing has been done – not even the shadow of one. This, despite the government’s coronavirus loans amounting to PHP 386B. WHERE DID THE MONEY GO? We have not seen a sliver of it, despite having to pay for it for three generations onward. By the time our grandchildren are born and today’s politicians are dead, we will still be paying off this debt.

Sometimes, I wonder what made many of our politicians brazenly criminal. Filipinos are suffering hunger, disease, unemployment, and the lack of government support, yet politicians can turn a blind eye to it all. Many of them are too blinded by the wealth of their people, too busy scheming to stay in power, and too occupied licking our president’s ashen ass. Too many of them have corrupted morals and want nothing else but to stay in their position, even if it no longer serves the Filipino people. Is it not time for a revolution, to throw these people out of power?

It is time for change in the hands of the people. And yet Filipinos are already too weary. Many of us are looking for jobs and for our next meal. Many of us cannot act when our families are hungry and our security is on the line. This suffering may not be a deliberate move from our dear politicians – but boy, does it serve them.

I sometimes wish I could give up on my country. It’s too painful to be a Filipino; it has always been, but it especially is now. But it would serve no purpose to the Philippines if I, or anybody else, give up on it. What could we do, though? How could we serve the motherland best?

The other enemy

Philippine news has always been a circus, but moreso now, at the height of the Covid-19 crisis, than ever before. This has divided people to the extremes. On one hand, there are those who complain about the government and are demanding better measures. On the other are those who are defending its policies, and believe that the course of action being taken now is satisfactory. I’m in the former, and I have always been vocal against our rulers’ out-of-touch, anti-poor governance.

I’ve observed us Filipinos pitting ourselves against one another. We fight with the “other side” – those whose opinions differ from ours – and we end up getting too distracted, lost in the myriad of pettiness. We generalise those who are of a different mind, and forget that this fight is with an invisible enemy, and not with each other.

A few days ago, two good friends of mine complained about my opinion of our government. They told me that I was too negative, and that I had no right to complain because I, “haven’t contributed anything to the betterment of my country.” They went on to list down a few other people who were “too negative,” and jokingly said these others should form an anti-government club with me.

My friends and I have different opinions, but we’ve always mutually respected each others’ differences. Why was this case different? Their complaints literally felt like a stab at the heart. These are my closest friends, how could they say this about me? How could they pair up and do this together? I saw a chunk of our mutual respect chipping off.

Their complaint drove the point home for me: that what’s happening in the Philippines – and, contextually, the whole world – drives a wedge between people. This wedge is so deep that we’ve begun to feel disrespect, and even a deep contempt, towards those whose opinions are different. This is why my country is at chaos: because we see other people as enemies, and cement in our minds that they always will be. As we plant these seeds of hate, we also set aside our salvation: uniting for the sake of our country.

Honestly, I’m far from being a saint. I also tend to stereotype those who have a different stance to mine. But I hope that my friends’ words would serve as a guiding light, to help me see that I should have more tolerance, acceptance, and respect towards others. If I could contribute anything to my country (other than taxes!), then it would be the will to set aside my differences with others, and collaborate in the face of turmoil.

Painting: The Raft of the Medusa by Théodore Géricault