BI. Filipinos know it as Bad Influence. You use this to label friends of your son who’ve taught him to drink or smoke. Or an office co-worker who teaches you how to cheat on the job, or brings you to a strip club for the first time.
After one Sentro broadcast, Orion D mentioned that after the 1986 People Power event, countries of the world tried to imitate it. In Indonesia, when Suharto fell from grace, people flocked to the streets in an imitation of 1986. In Thailand, when some people go in street rallies against the government, they actually flashed the laban sign!
Some people may be proud of this, saying that people power is a good legacy of our country to the world. To me, it’s like saying the Ponzi scheme was a good legacy from America. People Power taken out of the 1986 context becomes forced and contrived. Marcos is gone. There’s no martial law or dictatorship today.
I see one point that some proponents highlight – there was no bloodshed in 1986. However, just because there was no bloodshed in 1986 does not mean there won’t be any in the future. Also, People power is a concept that requires one vital ingredient – distrust of government. This distrust leads to disrespect for the government – something which has sadly become fashionable even in other countries as here. If disrespect for the government exists, social disorder is easy to sow and the fabric of society can more easily unravel.
We should have taken a lesson from one example of failed people power. In 1989, students flocked to Tiananmen Square, trying to imitate our 1986 event. Soon, the military bore down on them and shot them to pieces. The Chinese government is condemnable for the bloodshed… but the students may also be described as stupid to have imitated us in a land where the leaders can certainly overcome the crowd. But you know something? We gave them this idea. In this sense, our people power culture has blood on its hands.
Back to us. After People Power, what happened? We are still sunk. People Power is not the direct cause, but neither was it the solution. It never is. Our country remains beset by corruption and incompetence because these are prevalent among the common people as well, and yet they blame it on the government. Our OFWs and our “victim card” reaction to Adam Carolla are symptoms that something is wrong with us, and we need to do something to fix it.
Should we share with the world the kind of mess that we are? I think it’s time to realize that if we have something to offer the world, it should be something better than our OFWs and Manny Pacquiaos. We need to fix our broken society. We need to do it by changing the system and our values. We need to disobey popular opinion. Let’s go for what is right, not what is popular. We need a society, as fellow writer Benign0 said, that is based on trust, not mistrust, of the government. Let’s stop being a BI to other countries.
Note the other countries that imitated People Power; once the rallying stopped, they had to fix their problems using the system. They had to trust it.
People Power is an obsolete and tired concept. It’s time to leave it as it really is: an historical relic.
I think America was the first in modern times to foster long-term distrust in the government, thanks to the JFK assassination and Watergate. Yes, picketing was popularized in America too. But the Philippines seems to be the one that makes it fashionable on a grand scale.
When a losing candidate of this May election flocks to the streets saying he lost because of cheating, other countries seeing him may just shake their heads and utter the famous Salbakuta chorus… stupid!