I’ve recently come across a few bright boys who presume to tell us who has — or who doesn’t possess — the “right” to write brilliant commentary on the sad “internal affairs” of the Philippines. And here I am thinking: well now isn’t that just classy. It’s days like these that remind me to keep my feet on the ground and do an occasional mental pilgrimage back to a string of so unintentionally prophetic words coming from one of our most revered statesmen:
I would rather have a Philippines run like hell by Filipinos than a Philippines run like heaven by the Americans.
But see, revisiting the above words is the easy part — which is why I did so above. However they are not the point of this article. The point I want to make here lies in two questions currently swirling in my vast mind. Here is The First one:
What is a “Filipino” and what does the “Filpino” stand for?
The challenge to the Philippine “intelligentsia” to step up to providing a convincing response to the above question was something I issued way back and was noted by the eminent blogger Rom Sedona who provided an initial stab at the challenge, thus…
It’s actually a very simple question with a very simple answer: Filipino stands for parochial.
Parochial means – insular: narrowly restricted in outlook or scope; being provincial, being narrow in scope, or considering only small sections of an issue; narrow-minded. Ever heard a more concise description of a Filipino?
… but then on taking on board further clarification issued the following more refined take on the concept:
Tackling the question as [benign0 clarifies] it now, my answer will only be slightly different. what does the Filipino stand for then? The Filipino stands for survival at any cost.
If you were hoping for some lofty ideal – like truth and justice – you’d be disappointed. Filipinos like to think that that’s what we’re about, but in practice, we’re more about enlightened self-interest than anything else.
Aside from my own treatise on what I believe the Filipino stands for, there is not much out there beyond Rom’s own succinct take on the matter that comes across as coherent and therefore convincing — at least to the sorts of people who think. Certainly there is none coming from them traditional emo “experts” on all things “Filipino” to contribute to gaining any further clarity to this enduring mystery. Perhaps it is because all the mediocre mind could come up with to prop up our global “identity” is a “flag” and this nebulous concept of “one nation” — a “nation” which, I might remind, goes by the name of a Spanish king who presided over that charming period in our history as a species known as The Inquisition.
Hey isn’t that the same kind of mentality that predisposes the same meeting of minds of the sort that goes on to latch onto “L” signs, yellow colours, and no-results and no-insight politicians? There you go. You, reader, are in the midst of a groundbreaking convergence in the analysis of what fundamentally underpins the mediocrity of Filipino thinking — Spanish Kings of the Inquisition and Noynoy Aquino.
But, see, I digress.
What an understanding of the above comments ultimately leads us to as far as this article is concerned is a robust context to regarding my Second Question:
Who ultimately possesses the authority to issue edicts on who is and who isn’t a “Filipino”?
I hereby assert, for example, that I am Filipino enough to write about Filipino affairs — wherever those affairs may transpire. Who’s gonna dispute that assertion? Perhaps I might take on board the views of someone who has a clear enough grasp of what it means to be “Filipino” to begin with. In short — Go To Question One First.
Too bad the small and therefore the average (following the Pinoy bell curve) mind consistently fails to answer Question One. If Da Pinoy where a bit more cluey as far as his own identity is concerned, he’d be in a better position to tell “foreign” commentators (many of whom find it personally rewarding to focus their energies on the renowned dysfunction of all things Filipino) to butt out.
Butt out? Well, the short answer is this: