screw the status quo. we need change and we need it now. we need not a leader who plays with words and public funds. we need not a leader whose years of service fall under the 'fiction' category. we definitely need not a leader who knows nothing. we require a leader who has conviction, who has the guts to change the seemingly unchangeable. we need... to prepare for 2007. Now.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Congratulations, graduates!

I've had a really nice breakfast chat with my a friend who happens to be a professor in the University of the Philippines. He teaches history and an avid visitor of my Blog. His name is Victor. Hi Victor! *kaway* teehee...

We were classmates way back in college. He studied AB History, as a pre-course to Law. He's studying Law in the same university while doing teaching stints on the side, for extra-gimmick income, he says. Good for him he still finds time to spend the night out, considering how difficult training for his future career is.

While sharing cups of simple instant coffee in CASAA, our conversation shifted to a "nationalistic" mood, so to speak. It's not very surprising for a Katie and a History prof to touch topics such as what we discuss here in my blog, but I do want to emphasize one point that I'd like you guys to know.

Part of the curriculum he's currently using in teaching Kasaysayan 1 is Nationalism. It used to be a very interesting subject among UP students, specially during the Martial Law days. But Victor feel very left out nowadays, as the spirit seemed to have died out as time went by.

Nationalism, by simple definition, is love of country. He starts the lesson by defining what love is- a very interesting subject for youngsters these days. When I say I love you, what does it really mean? Giving your all without expecting in return. Or perhaps the concept of being selfless is another way to put it.

The best kinds of marriages is the one where two couples grow old together- two people holding on to happiness while it lasts, while facing challenges as a couple, while they go through everything by minding not only one's self, but most importantly the other. It's two different people living one life. What binds the two is that universal love that we always know.

Love of country- nationalism- works this way, too. Citizens take care of the land they have considered their only home since they were born, and the nation takes care of it's people to survive. People go on with life knowing that the state is always there to provide them protection, and to somehow make living sufficient. Love of country grows while a child grows up. From being taught how to stand up straight while raising the Philippine flag, to being good and responsible citizens of the country, these are simple expressions of love that we've learned to live with. The most significant kind of love are the ones expresses unnoticed.

Unconditional love. Love without conditions. You give yourself with only one expectation- that it will cause only good things to the one to whom this feeling is expressed. Selfless. True. Divine.

Nationalism like love between a mother and a child. The love of a mother to her child doesn't end after risking her life while giving birth. It could even not end at all. She will raise the child, feed him when he's hungry, stay up until the child falls asleep, risk her life again for his safety, do everything to keep him in school. As the child grows up, so does unconditional love grows in him, too. Both gets hurt when the other one is hurt also. Love involves geniune trust, so if the child goes away, the mother is confident that he will always go back to where his home is- or at least make the mother feel that he still thinks of him. The child would feel that way because of gratitude and love. He loves her mother as he won't be there without the love and guidance that he felt since the days he was just learning how to stand.

The lesson concludes with this question: Do you love your country this way? Do you feel that you are loved by the country as a mother loves her precious child? It never fails to make the whole class silent for a couple of minutes before Victor finds an answer. And as time goes by, the sadder his Kasaysayan 1 gets at this point.

I went to see my Elmo's brother graduate in UP Manila last week. He finished Medicine school. Their guest speaker was Senator Manny Villar, who, I think, is the current Senate secretary for the Finance Committee. He addressed the graduates just as how a politician would always address his audience- political blah blahs. But he did stressed one point that took my attention: Instead of imploring the doctors to stay and serve the country, never mind if they stay poor and miserable because of the present economic conditions. He said these future doctors should decide where they want to practice their chosen careers. He's right: Who in the right mind would think of slowly dying here, if they know there really is hope somewhere else? (Besides, when you live in the U.S., for instance, thinking that you don't love the country anymore is such an absurd claim.) He said he's in no position to tell them to stay in this country. The doctors should choose where they think their lives would be better- just don't forget to, at least, return to the country once in a while to help their fellow Filipinos in need. Even a Senator seems to have given up hope and trust towards the government he is now serving. Sad.

More and more doctors and nurses leave the country every year, despite the worsening health condition of our countrymen and service of our health sector. Can we blame them? Can we blame these people if they feel that they're left out, that life could be better abroad? Do we receive what we really strive for here? Even if we say love is not like that, isn't it that consider love that is blind as hipocritical?

The government seeks for blind love, blind nationalism. Conserve everything for the country's sake, when most of us receive less energy than we rightfully should receive. They want us to pay our taxes, yet we don't see where our taxes go. They promised us unconditional love through service, then they make us regret why we voted for them, while gnashing out teeth in misery and dismay while we see them living in limbo on TV. The law is supposed to protect us, yet in these times, the law is being twisted and used against our interests. People are even deprived of basic needs like shelter, food, water and education. A mother would quiver in fear and sorrow seeing her child live a day in hunger.

Most of us don't feel this, as we are easily convinced by news about life becoming a bit better due to improvements in numbers pertaining to the economy. But whose economy are these numbers pertaining to? Whose lives are getting better? Does their economy speak of everyone's economy? In a classroom filled with students coming from low walks of life, Victor can barely expect a happy response to his simple question nowadays. The streets are humming in people's misery, and even though some of us can hear now it, people up there still haven't. It's as if they're still waiting until the small humms grow into loud cries of angry starving children.


Blogger rebo said...

The anology is false. We cannot choose our mother but we can choose our leaders. Citizens expect from their leaders while children are nurtured by mothers. Mothers can be selfless when it comes to children but leaders only have self interests.

My love for my country is uncoditional. That I can say. Unfortunately, my country is run like hell by its leaders. However, changing the leaders, I believe, won't improve the situation. Things may change only if more citizens will have unconditional love for our country. Then we can elect better leaders.

10:52 AM

Blogger GeeDot said...

I recall an empowering scene from Finding Nemo.. The one where Nemo's dad gets trapped in a fishnet with a bunch of fish. Every fish is going on different directions making matters worse...until every fish decided to go one direction to pull down the net and force the fishing boat to let go. Of course, someone outside the net is directing them. The entire success involves the participation of everyone - inside and outside the net. Nice metaphor from a kiddie flick huh?

10:02 PM


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