No sympathy for Pilipinos who lack the courage to change their fateBy A. Mabini
I read an article about Uruguay’s current president, Señor José Mujica and the sincere humility of a man who holds the highest seat of a nation.
The article describes about how he drives a beatdown Volkswagen, and how he donates 90 percent of his $12,000 a month paycheck to charities and foundations. It is certainly a change of sight to know of a man whose genuine heart prevents him from committing audacious and egregious political crimes in the history of modern and ancient civilizations.
I am, like the rest of the world, in awe of Señor Mujica. His desire to break away from the norms that come with being the president of the country is something to be admired. The Uruguayan president’s track record as a freedom fighter in a region where Pinochet ganged up with the rest of the South American presidents at the time to rob people of their basic human rights, is something to read about. This humble gentleman was shot six times as a political activist as he rebelled against an oppressive government. He spent two years in the bottom of some random, lonely and dark well in Uruguay.
As a Pilipino, the fact that such a man became the leader of his country isn’t the most interesting thought for me.
The most interesting thing is how the majority of the citizens in Uruguay voted for a man who represents simplicity over grandeur, honesty over the political bullshit and, most importantly, honor over money. See, I come from a Third World country where vote buying and political corruptions are so rampant that I have started to lose faith in men at such a young age.
Looking back at the recent election season in the Philippines, I can’t help but feel disgust deep in my stomach, especially when I think about the mayoral election in Manila.
Former president Joseph Estrada, who was impeached and found guilty of plunder in 2007, is the epitome of a corrupt Filipino politician. This ex-felon won the mayoral race over a proven incumbent whose track record and history is impeccable compared to Estrada.
What happened in Uruguay should be as much attributed to the Uruguayan people as it is to their president. When I look and compare the Uruguayan to the Pilipino, I can’t help but feel a profound shame that a people who lack many of the resources that the Pilipinos have figured it out on their own that their leader ought to be the most sincere and the most honorable candidate on the ballot.
The poor quality or overall lack of education in the Philippines is in my opinion the main reason many Pilipinos whore themselves out during election. Yes I said it: Pilipinos whore themselves out during election.
You’re probably thinking at this point that I haven’t put too much thought into this and that in fact I haven’t considered the fact that many of these poor Pilipinos have to put food in the table, roof on top of their children’s heads and blah blah blah. I took two years out of my life to live in the Philippines without support from the States and yes, I completely immersed myself in the culture, environment and community.
The fact is, the majority of Pilipinos prefer the convenience and familiarity of the status quo. I have found that the majority of the Pilipinos possibly lack the courage in commandeering their own fate.
I was very sympathetic in the first couple of months I was in the Philippines. Even when I became a victim of a group of thieves who pulled a quick one on me in a crowded public bus. They got away with my iPhone and my ego. I remembered the loneliness and the fear I felt sitting alone in that bus and trying to figure out the what, the how and most importantly the why.
At first, I was sympathetic and thought, perhaps they really needed the money. Then it dawned on me that if I was to give them a free pass because of the all-too-common First World sympathy toward the Third World, I would do all the honest and hardworking Pilipinos an utter and absolute disservice.
I have no sympathy for thieves, people who sell their votes and essentially their future to fucked-up politicians. Some way or another, these dishonorable groups of poor Pilipinos are as accountable as the corrupt, rich Pilipinos in the downfall of the 7,000 beautiful islands of the Philippines.
Before I decided to refund my return flight to New York two years ago, I feared that I would end up hating the Philippines after being exposed to the ugly truth of its people. I thank God that didn’t happen. But I have lost faith in the Pilipino to help himself because for the most part, he lacks the courage to change his fate, the audacity to imagine a better future, and the honor of sacrifice.
A. Mabini was born in Davao City, grew up in the Bronx, and lived in the Philippines for two years. Check out his website, burningdog.tumblr.com.