The Manila Hostage Crisis has been recognized as one of the greatest mistakes of our Filipino leadership and our culture. It has shown right to the world how defective our culture and system are, right from the hostage taker and his family to the policemen in their bungled rescue attempt. Filipinos and foreigners have been sobered and saddened by the events. Many are saying that it has exposed various wrongs in our system, and various international analysts have commented, correctly, on what has happened.
Now one of the worst reactions that Filipinos have is to say, “We are still proud to be Filipinos in spite of what happened! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!” (side comment: yeah, ‘in spite of,’ Filipinos tend to spite other nations). Some Filipinos see it as a rightful action to save our image. It even seems that we are the only nation to use this kind of reaction. We try to remain a proud race despite another country’s people being killed on our territory.
Blogging colleague Benign0 believes that Filipinos have to be shamed in order to realize their mistakes and change. This hostage crisis should have served as such an event. However, it seems that many Filipinos have immunized themselves against shame and instead tried to cover it up with trying to recover what’s left of their “pride.”
The problem is that proclaiming Filipino pride at this point is very wrong to do. From the Chinese point of view, statements of Filipino pride right now only serve to further degrade our already damaged image to the world. It is especially embarrassing now that Chinese are angered not only at the event, but at PNoy’s “smiling” visage and the pictures of disrespectful souvenir takers (a nice word is camwhores) circulating around the Net.
Saying that we’re still proud is seen as an act of arrogance, especially in the eyes of a nation that has been wronged by one of ours. It’s not just pride anymore. It’s hubris. If Chinese or even other countries see this, they’ll say, “Oh, you proud of yoh man who killed owah peepoh?” Certainly, Filipinos are not proud of that. But to foreigners, they rightly see that it’s funny for Filipinos to find any reason to be proud at all. Some people were killed. And the killer was Filipino. He represented us that day. That we cannot deny.
This issue probably reflects one thing: our culture and condition have become so pathetic, that we look to any aspirin to relieve the pain instead of getting the right treatment for the disease. We have a lot of problems: we send OFWs to the countries whose nationals we kill. We have a corrupt government, even the current one. Our population is growing to catastrophic levels, and yet an outdated church tries to stop nearly any method at population control. High crime, high poverty, high blood… we are unfortunately on the lower end (or even at the lowest end) when compared to our Asian neighbors.
We look to pride to try and lift us from the sober mood. We go back to pleasantry addiction instead of facing the problem squarely and trying to solve it properly. We try to focus on the positive in order to escape the negative. We seek escape by cheering Venus Raj, using the “pwede na yan” mentality to accept the 4th runner up position. That only shows how weak in character the Filipino culture has made of its people.
We should stop this obsession with pride. We need to acknowledge our mistakes. We Filipinos need to accept that the hostage crisis is a failure of our culture. Pride is especially a part of our culture’s failures. The failure is that we look for pride even if we should not!
I also propose that Mendoza is a victim of this stuffing of pride in the Pinoy ego. Mendoza after all was a decorated cop in his day. But why did he hostage foreigners at all? What do his demands to negotiators reflect? Also, why would a policeman like him feed narcotics to a suspect as a form of torture? Clearly, it was misplaced pride.
Since we are a Catholic country, let me front the question: why are we looking for pride when it is the top among the seven deadly sins? 😉
I say, down with the pride. Let us humble ourselves. Humility is not negative. It is positive for a time like this.
We can still be Filipino. We don’t need to be ashamed of it. But we need to be ashamed of what happened. Yet shame is not the opposite of pride. Humility is. Let’s go in that direction.
And once we fix our problems can we truly be proud.