Tuesday, August 25, 2009

speak now or forever hold your peace (and perish)

I find it hyperventilatingly incomprehensible - how boys and girls of my age manage to lounge in coffee shops or sea shores, relaxing, casually talking about the latest movies, upcoming concerts or even the new pair of shoes released in the market. While the Philippines, on the other hand, is gradually falling apart, or rather, falling into the hands of the infamous Goliaths of this country.

There are times when, after reading the papers or listening to the news, I get so tempted to run in the middle of a crowded place, close my eyes, clench my fists and yell all of my frustrations at the top of my lungs like a desperate lunatic sending distress signals to super heroes somewhere out there. But then again, it can only do so much – a scene.

Two weeks ago, I joined an activity sponsored by a group called One Tama. The organization’s vision is to make this country a better place by starting with one good deed at a time. So for the month of July, they organized a walk around Intramuros. The objective was to educate Filipinos about how this country has become the Philippines that it is today.

While Ivan, the very learned tour guide, narrated how our ancestors survived 300 years of the Spanish regime, I made a mental note that tolerance, not hospitality, is the most distinct trait of Filipinos. We’ve got high doses of it running through our veins to date.

Though in hindsight, I could not blame our ancestors because no matter how abusive the Spaniards were, they at least sugar-coated their intentions with promises of salvation. I could, somehow, logically convince myself why it took us three centuries to get rid of them.

On the extreme contrary, our incumbent tyrants have been telling us blatantly that they have been getting everything they want, that they want more, and that there is nothing we can do to stop them. The Garci tapes, the ZTE-NBN deal, the Fertilizer scams, the extrajudicial killings, the extravagant Europe trips, all the way down to the recent railroading of the Con-Ass are stated in clear human language yet majority of our fellowmen remain blind, deaf, mute and absolutely impaired by tolerance.

I, on the other end, have been vigorously explaining to my own sister that if we remain apathetic, their Con-Ass will push through; Martial Law will be declared; and they will definitely remain in power, to which she replied: “you’re crazy!”

Am I?

If they have managed to railroad the Con-Ass in front of our eyes in a matter of a few hours, how can it be hard to imagine my prophecy? That remark from my sister brought me to my second conclusion about our genetically predisposed traits. Filipinos are not only extremely tolerant; we are also trusting and forgiving.

Fortunately, I have a mix of Bahraini blood in me which is perhaps the reason why I lack the ability to neither trust nor forgive this administration. In fact, I could not muster enough facial muscles to express my disbelief on how the President perceived the current state of the nation. And while shaking my head all through the 56 minutes of it, I felt that the last SONA was it, it should be it – the final tick of a timed bomb set to explode any moment.

As much as I am mournful about the death of my kabalen, former President Corazon Aquino, I am also dumbfounded with her final endeavour of saving this nation. I do believe that her death, now- during when she is needed the most, is not abandonment but a final attempt to awaken the power resting, untapped inside every Filipino. I am convinced that if she is to speak right now she would say something like: “oh no, don’t grieve over my death. Instead, win the battle that Ninoy and I have been fighting for.”

So this is me, doing my part. I am stepping up and rising above myself. I am no super hero but I want it to be known that I won’t take this sitting down. I will exhaust all of the possible means for me to actively participate in the pursuit of truth, justice and progressive reform because only God knows what lies beyond 2010.

Conrado de Quiros once said that someday Filipinos will look painfully back to Nov. 29, 2007 because when we had the chance to change our fate, we thought it is the most stupid thing to do. I remember this statement almost precisely because I knew that that day will come, and it did. I am every bit of sorry for waiting this long to finally take these matters upon myself, my friends, the friends of my friends, us – the youth sector.

Life changing opportunities do not come in bulk. We are indeed a very lucky nation to be granted another shot in turning our fate around this coming 2010. This might be the last “second chance” in this lifetime and I am not about to let it pass again.

I am writing this article to send scholarly distress signals to my fellow young men and women around this country and across the world. It is about time we unleash the Rizals, the Bonifacios, the Gabriela Silangs and all of the fighters within us because no one else is coming to the rescue. We are the saviours we have been waiting for.

We are the pagasa ng bayan.


  1. Hi Rain,

    I read your entry with great interest.
    I'm not a Pinoy, but my wife is from your hometown and I (believe) I know the PI quite well.

    I can relate to a lot of what you are saying - but unfortunetely being way older than you I lack the optimism that comes with being young...

    Even without being a Pinoy, I feel there is something deeply saddening in what you call "the tolerant nature of the PI". Sure, tolerance is good - but only up to a certain point.

    My own humble opnion (as an outsider) is the basic problem of the PI is the message it's culture delievers - "all things of value are not here, but somewhere in the west (and colored white)".

    The Alphabet, the music, the names people give thier children, the movies, the language used by educated Pinoys (in the better newspapers, legal procedure, the books etc), the restaurants patroned by the elite, even Jesus himself - are all either "white" or simply "American": how can a person (or a nation) develope a sense of self value under such conditions? How can people strive for anything other than a US greencard?

    I hope your generation can creat a major change in that field, but I must say I saw no sign of it as of yet.

    I understand you support certain political powers: I know too little on the subject to have an opinion of my own - but I've seen too many promising politicians fail to deliever the goods to build my personal hopes on any of them. Still, who knows? Maybe the party you support can play a serious role in such change.

    Anyway, all best - and I'll be expecting further entries of yours.