Who presumes to be an authority on who’s led an “honourable” or less-than-“honourable” life? Apparently esteemed “economics” professor Winnie Monsod thinks she is one such authority. In her recent “gone-viral” video, Monsod admonishes people who after being educated in the University of the Philippines (UP) — country’s premier state university — had opted to seek their fortunes overseas.
“If you are going to help this country, you’ve got to be in the country. If any of you have ambitions of going abroad so that you can earn more, please disabuse yourself, because by doing that, you are essentially betraying the people in the Philippines who trusted you and who invested their money in you,” she told her students, whose tuition at UP is subsidized by the government.
A couple of things:
(1) Why only students of UP?
Shouldn’t she be including the millions of Filipinos who were educated by Filipino taxpayers through the rest of the public education system?
(2) Why only people who go abroad?
Last I heard the number of Filipinos who live in the islands overwhelmingly and utterly dwarfs the number of people who are working and residing abroad. Even without doing much research on the subject, I don’t think too many people would disagree with an unsubstantiable assertion that for every one Filipino earning sweet dollars abroad, there are on the average four to five (or even nine, thanks to Catholic dogma) direct family members and a vast network of extended family and friends related to these waiting at home mouths agape for the next “paycheck” to be distributed thinly amongst them (thus the logo of AntiPinoy.com).
Suffice to say, this simple counter-challenge could be made to those who presume to be the judge of who is doing a lot — or “not enough” for our sad “country:
If you don’t want Filipinos to leave the islands, then let us stop depending on their earnings.
The sort of hollow-headed populist admonitions of people who pompously go where JFK had already gone before rings hollow in a country run aground and rendered a vast economic, physical, intellectual, and spiritual wasteland by its own people.
The simple truth about the backward chronically impoverished people that Filipinos are is encapsulated in something I wrote way back in a piece exploring the notion of self reliance — a concept that is all but alien to the Filipino mind:
We pester the elite of our society with calls for acts of heroism when the burden of extra hard work in reality falls on the shoulders of the poor masses.
We Filipinos have been imbued with the idea that our hopes for prosperity lie squarely on the shoulders of the elite, the “haves”, a handful of leaders and/or a few “extraordinary” individuals. Our society has come to (or, more appropriately never matured beyond) a penchant for giving heroic labels to these “messiahs”, as if the Philippines is constantly waiting for a hero to rescue her from her dysfunction. We expect heroic efforts from the few and continued mediocrity from the majority.
…and, more to highlight the politically incorrect point…
We expect the low product of the majority to be subsidised by the execptional output of the minority.
So read it and weep folks. Populist drivel espoused by people like Monsod is the sort of bullshit we’d like to hear (and add to our collection of moronic “status updates”). But reality has a way of rubbing our fur the wrong way and embedding itself deep in our balat sibuyas. It takes real insight to spot these cling-on bits of reality hiding underneath our glossy fur and a lot of hard work to pick them off our thin hides.
Deal with it.