The Philippines has no shortage of morons. This is evident in the number people who defy logic or facts without using any empirical evidence to support their stand. This is also evident in the number of people who are supposedly free to choose their leader but continually choose instead someone based solely on his pedigree. However, if you believe a claim by a so-called intellectual, there is no shortage of smart Filipinos in our society either.
Last December 2010, I read a news item that reported that “Pisay may surpass schools abroad in advanced math.” Pisay refers to Philippine Science High School (PSHS) and the article claimed that “ Students from the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) come at par — and may even surpass — students from other countries when it comes to algebra, geometry and calculus.”
The article from ABS-CBN News further states the following:
This is according to the 2008 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study-Advanced (TIMSS-Advanced), which revealed that students from PSHS, more popularly known as Pisay, seem to “be able to compete internationally, surpassing students from some countries.”
Dr. Ester Ogena, who wrote a paper on the performance of Philippine science high schools in the 2008 TIMSS-Advanced, said that overall PSHS students got 47% correct in the TIMSS-Advanced examination, higher than the international average of 40%.
They got a score of 52% in algebra, 52% in geometry, and 43% in calculus, going beyond the international averages of 42%, 44% and 37%, respectively.
I don’t doubt for a moment the result of the study that says Pisay students are good with their numbers. After all, the result was based on scores that were taken from examinations. I also don’t doubt our abilities in surpassing students from other countries. Frankly, the above article is hardly news at all if you ask me.
What I would like to know is, since most of the students who graduate from such prestigious schools such as Pisay obviously use their analytical skills in the fields of mathematics, why can’t they use the same skills in dealing with their day-to-day activities? I mean, I really don’t understand what happens to students who did very well at school. What happens after graduation? Where have all the smart people gone?
Did all the smart Filipinos join the corporate world and lose themselves in the system? Or have they all left for abroad where what they have to offer is better appreciated? Or even worse, are they still here in the country but are just dumbing themselves down just to fit-in with the rest of the average anti-intellectual Filipinos? I do believe that even though “brain drain” is part of the reason behind the reduced number of intellectuals in the country, there are also many more Filipinos who are still in the country but are just trying to fit in or trying to stay under the radar just to avoid being ostracized by the moronic horde.
It is not hard to imagine how smart Filipinos can feel alienated in our society. The sheer number of morons can actually make intellectuals feel bullied into thinking that there is something wrong with them. Smart people who can potentially solve the problems of our society tend to shy away from voicing their opinions and simply blend in with the rest. Sadly, they can actually use their training and expertise in dealing with some of the most important life-changing decisions in their lives and the lives of millions of people if only regular folks allow them.
The biggest problem with our society is that young people are taught what to think, but not how to think.
From a young age, we are told not to question authority, with an emphasis on giving deference to our elders. Young kids are to be seen but not heard. This was evident in the last election when some young adults who did not see the relevance of “People Power” anymore were voicing their disgust at how some Filipinos are still beholden to the Aquino family.
But these young Filipino adults were quickly silenced by threats from the family elders even short of being banished from the family tree. Scared of being ostracized, young Filipino adults have no choice but to follow what their elders say, never mind if what the elders say defies what they had learned at school. This is because smart people somehow know that it is impossible to defeat an ignorant man in an argument. Someone once said that one moron can ask more questions than ten wise men can answer and that ignorant people rely on insults instead of facts.
I personally think that young Filipino adults are the key to the Philippines’ future. Young adults have fresh ideas and fresh perspectives. Adults should listen to them more often because they can see what grown ups cannot see because of their relative lack of prejudices or biases. Fresh out of school, young Filipino adults still know by heart the theories and skills from their school lessons. Young adults can tell the Emperor that he has no clothes on.
I also think that the older generations of Filipinos have lost their credibility when it comes to running the country. They have had their turn and they just used their time to run the country aground. The older generation of Filipinos who have lost credibility includes grown up members of our own family who are not open minded (or those who supported PNoy), old people in the community (who supported PNoy) and most especially, old people still serving as public servants. If they have been in their posts for the last 10 years but have not done anything significant, they need to go.
As a writer, I have personally experienced being bullied so many times for writing about the obvious dysfunction of our society. A lot of people mistakenly think that the reason why I write articles critical of President Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) is because I hate him. Nothing can be further from the truth. I don’t want PNoy to fail. I want him to change. But I doubt very much if PNoy can change because I have been told that even though beauty fades, dumb is forever.
Once PNoy starts recognizing the areas where he needs to improve, he can deliver on his promise to uplift the lives of millions of Filipinos who still live in poverty despite his ascension to power as the “non-thief.” Unfortunately, Filipinos who are still beholden to the Aquino legacy are still of the belief that PNoy will eventually deliver on his promise. PNoy is not even visibly concerned about what is going on in the flooded areas of Sulu province at the moment. As usual, he is probably wishing the problems would just go down the drain. One thing that PNoy’s supporters can’t seem to get a grip of is that, faith is a poor substitute for logic and reason.
During the election campaign, I used to get angry with Filipinos who shamelessly pander to other people’s weakness; those who created all the magic behind PNoy. These days I’m angrier with the Filipinos who fall for their nonsense.
All the talk about morons lead me to one conclusion. The moronic horde won the election because of their sheer numbers. It had nothing to do with them being right. All the mathematical skills we acquired in school should have taught us that we can defeat bullies when we increase the tribe of the smart people or the intellectuals. I now realize that there is strength in numbers.
At the moment, there is something amazing happening in the relatively small community of Filipinos who meet in cyberspace. These people are currently communicating and venting their frustration over the Philippine government and the current administration under PNoy. They band together because they are looking for an alternative answer to the present system.
What is remarkable is that, this small Filipino community on the Net can communicate effectively using the English language. It doesn’t matter if one is from Cebu or one is from Davao, they can understand each other because they all know how to write English properly. The most important ingredient for success is being able to communicate effectively.
Alas, the solution to our country’s dysfunction might just be as simple as having an effective communication tool. The beauty of communicating via the Net is that people can be less conscious of the status symbols that can distract people from bringing their message across when they deal with each other in person. The Net can actually unite us when we discard any of the inhibitions that gets in the way of our being one people.
I hope you can join the conversation with this growing community at the Get Real Philippines Community and the GRP Network. Please bear in mind that smart people or intellectuals need to lead the country. The morons haven’t got a clue about what they are doing. Smart people or intellectuals need to take over. Good luck is the result of good planning.