Saturday, November 04, 2006

We Never Learn

Good thing Gloria had Luli for a daughter, who knows her place in this country’s state of affairs.

The presidential daughter is in the news for being “insulted” by an arrogant immigration officer. The government employee is now in hiding.

If errant government employees were to follow this arrogant immigration officer’s cowardly act, the government would stop working in a matter of hours.

Why are some government employees arrogant when, in the first place, they get their wages from us citizens?

Definitely, it is not a simple case of a lack in ethics training. The cure is not a month-long workshop on ethics, or a congressional inquiry in aid of legislation, or another executive order (which, of course, we will be paying for with our taxes).

What is the cure, then?

There is still hope. There will always be hope for a country that exports its best people and resources to other countries in exchange for hazardous waste, outdated buses, and zombies.

We have always lacked an identity. Although we are proud to be Filipinos (as long as we’re in another country), we are always at a loss about how we are as Filipinos, when we are Filipinos, who we are as Filipinos, and why we are Filipinos.

When we are here in the country, we only become Filipinos with respect to a foreigner, or when it’s Buwan ng Wika, or when it’s Independence Day. Most of the time, we are little brown Americans, always absorbent of what Western culture can throw our way.

Most of us simply do not recognize, and realize, that Western hegemony exists, that neocolonialism impairs our sovereignty, and that this whole bullshit of globalization is another way of Western countries to shackle us – to keep this banana republic of ours as Southeast Asia’s premier backwater.

See – our very own immigration officer, of our own color, of our own blood, belittling the only daughter of our president, ignoring the basic rule of accommodating whoever’s first in line?

What is the cure? Embarrassingly, it has been written in our history books for so long, written by no less than Southeast Asia’s first national hero.

Dr. Jose Protacio Mercado Rizal y Alonso Realonda tells us, until now, that what our country needs is education.

Yes. Education. Education that makes us whole, education that makes us human, education that opens our eyes and frees our mouths to speak.

Education that shows us the way towards Truth, towards self-realization, towards an identity.

Education is not about pursuing a degree that will enable one to immigrate and live in another country. Education is not about enslaving for four or more years to be enslaved by another. Education is not about uplifting one’s life, while leaving others mired in the pit.

Education is enlightenment. Education is about the Truth.

Is education the cure?


Novelist F. Sionil Jose says we are doomed as a race because we have no memory as a race. How can we move towards development, how can we progress when we do not learn?

History repeats its lessons, to those who never learn. Just like us.

We never learn. We have never learned. Coming out from the dark years of Martial Law, we were so drunk with democracy we treated ourselves to three revolts, all in less than half a century.

And after all that trouble, we are still Southeast Asia’s sickest man.

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