I have read a blog entitled What’s It Like Being Filipino which basically captures the good side of, yes, being a Filipino.
I am a Filipino, and while I agree with what the blog says, I have discovered a lot more about being a Filipino, and who I am for that matter, with the advent of social media. Of course, I have also observed, that what social media brought to light is not just about how is it to be a Filipino, but it has also brought to the fore a human character which otherwise has been hidden because of the division of space and time.
Anyway, for this blog, I will limit myself into a scrutiny of the Filipino character, in relation to the current events that are unfolding in my country, its politics, its government, the people in the government and those who claim to be guardians of the Philippine democracy.
Yes, Filipinos are a happy bunch, we are one of the most hospitable people in Planet Earth, and yes, as much as possible, we avoid interpersonal conflict. It is a prominent Filipino culture to always “put our best foot forward.” Another good trait is our ability to “smile though your heart is aching.”
In this time and age, though, where social media is becoming more and more the main channel of communication and sharing of information, a different description of what is it like to be a Filipino is emerging. And to be honest, I miss the Filipino that we were, happy, loving, considerate, hospitable, respectful, courteous, resilient. We were a people that considers almost everybody, even foreigners and local tourists, a member of our extended family. We used to “cover each other’s back.”
But look at us in social media. We throw each other the dirtiest mud and we have the temerity to laugh at the targets of our haughtiness. We forget about decorum and we claim that what we are doing is rightfully covered by “democracy” and “free speech.” Doesn’t matter whether our statements are false and outright lies. We bask on the fact that the who’s who in the government have us covered.
Jose Rizal who said this famous line “the youth is the hope of the fatherland” might be cringing in his grave because he has been proven wrong. For how can you mold upright youths in a social media environment where we are. How do we see hope in the youth when all they hear is “kill, kill and kill.” How can we pin our hopes in the youth when, upon hearing very vulgar language like “sana nauna si Mayor” or “shoot them in the vagina” we brush it off because it is a language normal from Filipinos coming from “the south.” How can we see hope from the youth when all they read are posts from very prominent government bloggers who use the most foul language masquerading to be representing the sentiments of the people on the fringes of society.
How do you see us as a people a few years down the road if we continue to be like this?
This is the island where I come from, Siquijor. It is in the Southern Philippines, in Central Visayas. It doesn’t look like a habitat of rude and vulgar homo sapiens. It doesn’t look like a place where killers abound. It looks like a place where all people, from all races, color, religion, from all walks of life can live together happily, peacefully, harmoniously. By the way, we call ourselves Siquijodnons, but we are Filipinos first. We have the same culture, we have the same values.
Given the gift of a beautiful country, we have to claim back who we were as Filipinos. Remember, who we were, made the Philippines more beautiful, earned us the respect and admiration from other countries and other cultures, don’t let us allow the bane of a social media to bring us back to the dark halls of history. Let us reclaim who we were, we are Filipinos.