There has been a whole lot of Filipino bashing online the past week and most of them have been from Filipinos. I haven’t written about the hostage crisis nor Miss Universe because… well, I just had no strong opinion for either event. I didn’t feel that either event really defined MY or anyone else’s Filipino-ness. They were simply unfortunate events that became bigger that they would ever have been had it not been for the ease of communication provided by the internet and social networking medias. I mean no disrespect for the people who lost their lives during the botched hostage crises, the tragedy touched me immensely. But I also think that neither event reflects or represents the whole country, its people nor its culture.
Thanks to Nick for sharing in his blog, I finally found a commentary that I can agree with. This is written by Trixie Cruz-Angeles titled What do you mean “Only in the Philippines”?, which mirrors much of what I had been thinking. Here is the main point of her blog post:
The vultures can’t resist jeering and insulting. Stupid media. Stupid cops. Stupid Mendoza. Stupid by-standers. The Filipino nation is stupid.
Our ancestors believed in the concept of an afterlife when many other peoples of the world were still figuring out how to make stone tools. Our forebears crossed the Pacific years before the Vikings crossed the Atlantic. They cultivated rice when many others were still living in caves. They had the first revolution in Asia that united no less than three disparate linguistic groups through a leader named Diego Silang whose wife became his successor. This nation produced women leaders and warriors when much of Europe still considered the female gender as mere chattel. My country abolished slavery two hundred years ahead of the so called New World. My country, whose history and treasures remain mysteries to its own children, cannot and should not be defined by the mistakes of yesterday’s events
And we will not be defined by this tragedy. But we must learn from it. And the first lesson should and ought to be not to add any more hurt to a nation prostate with grief. So much blood ignites so much passion. But we can either flagellate ourselves until there is nothing left of our self esteem. Or we can turn this into an impetus for change. Real change.
So, I will mourn today. I will grieve for all the victims, yes Mendoza included. I will mourn for all the ignorance that makes an embarassing display of itself in times of crisis. I will mourn for the good men and women of the PNP who feel the brunt of the national outrage, but who will go to work tomorrow and still go after the bad guys, still keep us safe. I will mourn for media persons who must live with the effects of their live broadcasts.
But after that, I will choose hope and faith in my countrymen.