In the everyday tedium of commuting to university, I used to imagine what will happen if Rizal ever returns to the living world and see the Philippines for at least one day.
What do you think will he feel? Do you think we can show him the state of the country he sacrificed his life for?
Personally, like what everyone else thinks, I think he’ll be very very distraught. The state of the Philippines is so unbearable that maybe Rizal would beg to die again and forget what he had seen.
Rizal, an already “emo” kind of guy, would even be more depressed for FIVE reasons:
1. The Filipinos are physically scattered and emotionally indifferent from each other, just as it had been before the pre-revolutionary days. We live in a country as citizens and not as brothers. Our passion runs to such limited and selfish waterways. We even fail to see Mindanao as sometimes part of us, because some people there are religion extremists. You see, we are people living in a same country, branded by same nationality, but act as virtually strangers. We are only united through rare occasion when Pacquaio boxes his way through the ring, when a Filipina singer makes it into an international stage or events like EDSA Day, Independence Day or when some foreign film decides to shoot a movie in our sidewalks.
2. Some Filipinos are exploiting fellow Filipinos. The Philippines is your classic example of an endless struggle between the rich and the poor. Sure, nowadays, we lack the drama, or cheesy theme songs, or action depicting how the rich steals from the poor, but it doesn’t mean it’s over in our present state now. Filipinos are still stuck in the ”pyramid” social structure that is so common for 3rd world countries; the minority rich gets richer, the majority poor gets poorer. The middle-class, the people who may have the capability to strengthen the economy, is burdened by the high rates of taxes the government imposed, and so they can do nothing. It’s a sad thought that even if an honest middleclass man pays his taxes, a lot of people from rich political families have heap loads of tax evasion cases filed in their desks.
3. Filipinos are satisfied with this kind of state. Rizal had been fighting for restoring Filipino dignity all his life. He’s the first to call us “Filipinos” and not “Indios”, meaning he’s determined to set our identity not as colonial slaves but a nation gifted with a beautiful country, filled with a promising future. And yet, here we are, satisfied with the everyday mediocrity of life, indulging ourselves to the bittersweet addiction for TV, soap operas, and reality shows instead of facing reality and doing what we can. We are content with a life without dignity. No wonder other countries shunned us, it’s because we lacked any passion to prove them wrong. We lack the driving ambition to make this country great again. Instead we do stray away from the comfort zone of feeding our stomachs and living a decent life while most of our countrymen do not.
4. We have no discipline. From the highest officials of the land to the ordinary Filipinos, we simply lack the capacity to use our freedom in useful ways. Instead, we tend to abuse it. In the name of ‘freedom’, we do anything the hell we wanted to, throw garbage there, overtake this car, cross the street under the “GO” light, draw a picture of a some large man’s sexual organ beside a national highway…it’s not only mortifying but just sad. Freedom is a precious gift given to us by the great men of our history and now, we failed to live up to their expectations of using this freedom for the good of the country.
5. We are still psychologically colonial slaves. What I like about this year is the rise of Filipino products in terms of gadgets, fashion wear, business, etc., but maybe it’s only a matter of time before they all close down. It’s because most of us would rather buy imported, foreign ones than utilize our own. Filipino brands are more expensive, sadly, and that maybe drives a factor why. Still, we can help building our own local industry if we give chance to our Filipino inventors or artists and help them grow.
Like I said, Rizal would end up probably depressed over the whole thing.
But he won’t be coming back now, still I wish there could be a lot of Filipinos who will follow his suit. Even if it leads to a premature trip to the grave.
Hmm…a nice statue in some park or when people celebrates your birthday even if you’re centuries dead is not such a bad idea…