I recall as a nine-year-old making my folks and grandparents gasp when I remarked how I wished that the Philippines had remained an American colony so that we could have grapes and chocolates all year round and no brownouts. By about that age I was noticing how on Sesame Street kids were adivised to go to a cop when lost or in trouble while in my real life, most grown-ups’ distrust, lack of respect for, and even fear of policemen was quite palpable. I remember asking my Dad who I often watched my favourite TV show Combat! (starring Vic Morrow and Rick Jason) with why even back in the 1940’s German and American soldiers were fully-equipped with helmets and boots while the modern 1970’s Filipino soldier could often be seen fighting in a t-shirt, basketball shorts, and slippers.
By the time I was about eleven or so I was already wondering why our aspirations as a nation did not go beyond exporting rice and pineapples while Hong Kong and Singapore were already exporting the nice toys that my friends and I played with. Why oh why too, I often asked myself, could we not find even a few meters’ smooth surface to ride our skateboards within a walkable radius of our home, yet on TV, the average American could roll his skateboard down the smooth paving of the average American street from his home to his school? This became specially important after the authorities in my school banned riding skateboards and roller skates on the smooth concrete of our corridors.
By the time I was a hi-school freshman, the Philippines was already pretty much a write-off for me. But I didn’t know it yet. I hadn’t crystallised and compartmentalised that notion in my mind at the time. That “realism” just lay at the back of my mind as a nebulous unarticulated blob of yeah whatever stuff that I deferred thinking about to when I grew up. It was while in this frame of mind that I coasted through the 1986 Edsa “Revolution”.
I quickly snapped out of the subsequent euphoria that the newly-empowered ABS-CBN Network helped propagate and sustain after the 1986 “revolution”. By college I was already dismissing bozos like Joey Ayala as primitivist fools and University Student Council campus figures like David Celdran (who often came to the College of Engineering with his bullhorn to dish out his inane ideology) as over-educated and misguided windbags. As a college student in UP I was as apathetic to “politics” as any other sleep-deprived engineering student was.
So to answer esteemed commentor Conyo‘s query (which actually inspired this blog post) in a recent insightful comment…
Tibak ka pala dati? This post [i.e. Remembering the 1986 Edsa “revolution”] gives me a lot of insight into your journey to Get Real Philippines.
It is interesting to see how different people become REALISTS. For you, was it a gradual disillusionment with the “revolution” and the Aquino government? Or was it a sudden revelation or epiphany that the majority of Pinoys are just a bunch of God-damned hypocrites?
I am quite different. You see, during my days at UP, I never ever went to a single rally (zilch). I placed Tibaks in the same category as Born Again Christian Cults. And I hated that PI 100 course (Rizal brainwashing 101) with a passion since I failed to see how studying Rizal can make me wealthy, although I managed to get a 1.75 grade by giving the bullcrap answers my super Tibak professor wanted to hear.
Why am I such a contrarian? I don’t know. I figured out that the Catholic Faith and all Christianity was bullcrap at such an early age. The same goes for most of my formal education–useless, pointless.
Now, as I sit on the sidelines, I am baffled why I keep on coming back to this website when I am supposed to not care.
See you at Starbucks
… I’ll begin by saying that, for me, politics and being “socially aware”, as self-described tibaks (a term that I googled and found to mean “activist”) like to call the state of being “one of them”, is just a thin conceptual layer that surrounds the core of my “getrealism”.
Perhaps, Mr. Conyo, we are the same in the sense that our interest in the matter is what draws us to sites like AntiPinoy.com — because it is not really politics that we tackle here in excellent forums like ours, but the underlying dysfunction that is spun right into the very threads that go into weaving the very fabric of Filipino society. Whilst “experts” writing for other more typical “politically-oriented” blogs see politics as some sort of “solution” to our chronic inability to advance socially and prosper economically, we tend to see the nature of Filipino politics as just a reflection of that dark underbelly of the Filipino psyche that people who inhabit “polite” society prefer to pretend does not exist. Having this as a common starting point for our regard for Philippine politics is what I would consider to be what makes us “realists” in the sense of how you use the term and differentiates our thinking from the rest.
The obsession with political solutions that underpins the mediocrity of the national “debate” I believe stems from the notion that ordinary Filipinos are more of victims of political circumstances and less of contributors to the degeneracy of Philippine politics. Therefore rather than mount the soul searching and reflection that may lead us down a path of enlightenment and, eventually, the formulation of real solutions, we instead choose to be mere spectators and passively take in the spectacle of political circuses that go on and on decade after decade.
In our utter lack of capacity for reflection lies the source of our ability to tolerate the rule of equally unreflective politicians (people who reflect their unreflective constituency). Because we are unreflective, we consistently fail to see the value in the sort of knowledge that requires a bit of reflection to absorb. This is the sort of knowledge that the writers of AntiPinoy.com and others in our network of Certified GetRealist blogs aspire to bring into the mainstream. We aim to provide a viable alternative to the horsemanure that Mainstream Philippine Media has made big bucks disseminating in our society.
And that is the reason why smart people keep coming back to AntiPinoy.com.