What a year it has been! 2010 is the year I and many other like-minded people will never forget. As a Filipino, I never thought it was still possible to learn many new things about the culture I was born into. Indeed, every now and then, the things I discover about us never ceases to amaze me. To borrow someone’s metaphor, our culture grew on me like it was a colony of E. coli and I was room-temperature raw pork chops!
There was so much to learn about our dysfunctional culture and, unfortunately, I realised that the reasons why the Philippines is the way it is are not all good. There is never a better time to learn about ourselves than during election seasons. The Presidential election in May revealed a lot of the ugliness of our culture and the mindset of the average Filipino. The revelation that every election ever held in the Philippines is a sham came as a rude shock, like the shock we all felt when typhoon Ondoy revealed the extent and depth of the incompetence of our civil service.
2010 is the year that the Philippines’ reputation overseas as a “basket case” and a “haven for terrorists” has finally been made official thanks to the WikiLeaks website. Even Hong Kong-based human rights group has come to the conclusion that the Philippines is a “broken and lawless nation.” What a great year ender…Not!
But if you ask the average Filipino what they think about those statements, they will simply shrug it off and say, “tell us something we don’t know!” or “what’s new?” and even worse, “What do those foreigners know, anyway?!”
They say eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves but most Filipinos have this ability to hear only good things other people say about our country and about us as a people; not a lot of good things, actually, and yet Filipinos, applying some form of perverse creativity, still manage to magnify these and turn them into spectacular rallying points.
Even if the bad things outnumber the good and are already blatantly obvious to everyone, Filipinos never fail to pin the blame for all the ills in the land to none else but on the usual whipping boys — the “corrupt” and incompetent public officials they themselves voted into office. Perhaps, this is because it is quite unthinkable for most Filipinos to see their very culture itself as a key hindrance to the progress that the country badly needs. Now I know that most Filipinos want progress but they don’t want the hard work involved in achieving it. Even the Philippine President, it seems, is totally averse to hard work.
Ask President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) how things are and he will tell you unashamedly that “the children today are luckier compared to the children during the Martial Law years when he was barely 12 years old and aware that there was no promising future for them.” If only the average Filipino had the analytical skills to challenge P-Noy to come up with the data to back up this claim, P-Noy would think twice about making such fantasy-laden statements. P-Noy’s statement is of course at odds with the statement of one member of the Morong 43 recently released from the captivity of the Philippine military since their February 6 arrest in Morong, Rizal:
“Yung claim ng AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] that they’re different from the Marcos era is quite false,” Dr. Alexis Montes told ANC’s “Headstart” on Monday.
“Sa experience namin, it’s been proven that even without the official martial law declaration, they are still thinking above the civilian [authority]. That’s why I was wary with the President saying there were pressures. If he claims he was the only President who got the mandate of the people, why would he be afraid of other sectors?” he added.
Throughout the year, P-Noy’s vocabulary in his speeches was as bad as, like, “whatever“. This did not stop, his staunch supporters from leaping off the pavement in applause at every instance; similar I guess to maggots when you try and fry them in hot oil. Despite all his gaffes, his supporters still pant heavily and their breasts heave like teenagers when they see their idol.
P-Noy and his supporters complete each other. They were made for each other. They deserve each other. His inadequacies are masked as he swaggers and entertains his fans with news about his “new love” and his sister’s scandals. And P-Noy is likewise entertained and protected by the bubble his minions created for him as he basks in the adoration he gets from the millions of star-struck ignoramuses who are quite “happy” gawking at him and the rest of the Aquino family members. It’s too bad that he is just a crisis away from being proven to be a pretender.
2010 is the year that muddled everything we know about the blame game in the Philippines. Now that there is no (blatantly) corrupt President to blame, the incumbent President Noynoy still manages to get away with blaming previous President Gloria Arroyo (GMA) and every other GMA-appointed public servant for every crisis that he and his Cabinet get embroiled in.
Yes, P-Noy still manages to blame anybody else but himself regardless of the fact that he is still using GMA’s policies until now and has not introduced any radical measures that can actually distinguish his stint in Malacanang from the rest of the previous Presidents before him — aside from, perhaps, the “no wang-wang” policy. More importantly, leaked reports courtesy of Wikileaks confirmed that statements from world leaders in China and the U.S. say GMA was perceived as a good leader because she is someone who is in control of the situation in the country. To wit:
DAS John agreed President Arroyo has stabilized Philippine leadership and enacted strong fiscal and economic policy, but stressed that Beijing and Washington must encourage Manila to continue working hard to promote transparency and good governance, according to the leaked diplomatic cable.
Apparently, just six months into office, there is already a book that narrates P-Noy’s rise to become leader of 100 million Filipinos as well as take stock of his “successes”. Woohoo! Congratulations Mr President. We know that things in the country are still the same old way or even worse than during the Martial Law years, but since you and your minions count your win in the election as a “success”, you need to be congratulated for a job well done as a President who does not deserve to be there but still managed to get there despite the odds.
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) was correct when they said that it has become an “illusion” and “absurdity” for anyone to claim that there is protection and security for people in the Philippines. To quote an excerpt from an article on their website:
The Philippine National Police and government spokesmen have a habit of assuring the foreign community that the country is safe, in the face of travel advisories to the contrary issued by foreign governments.
The human rights body said it has become ordinary for killings to be carried out by policemen, the military and the paramilitary forces working for them, and for killings to be perpetrated in broad daylight in crowded public places and in front of the victims’ families in their own homes.
Ever since Jesus Christ died on the cross, Christians have been on the look out for that “someone” who can embody the virtues by which “the man” and “the son of God” lived by. That statement is truest in this country we call “the Philippines”.
Why else would someone like Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) win in the May 2010 Presidential election? It’s not that P-Noy actually has the same virtues as Jesus Christ. In fact, he has none of these. It’s just that, his supporters have formed an idea of what P-Noy supposedly stands for and it seems that there is nothing in the world that could destroy the image they have created of him in their little heads. It is pure illusion but that is how most Filipinos cope in this wretched land called the Philippines and this is the way it is in the Yellow world Filipinos now live in.
They say that not everyone can absorb reality and this statement is nowhere truer than in the Philippines. Once the Filipino people wake up from their stupor, the Get Real Squad have documented our own version of how idiocracy has taken over the Philippines.
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Ilda’s favourite highlights of the Year: