JoeAm’s arrogant but marvelously simple five-step method of becoming a born-again Filipino:
1. Always carry a book and read it in public even if your friends try to insult you for being a “librarian”. Help interject the pride of being smart into Philippine culture, driving out the macho pride of tuba-swilling cock fights and the bimbo pride of show-biz glitz and gossip.
2. When a friend hurts himself, ask if he is okay rather than laugh. Practice the art of caring about other people’s pain or circumstance. The English word is compassion.
3. Shoot your dog or pen it up so that it is no longer a risk to motorcyclists, no longer infests neighborhood kids with fleas, and no longer poops and pisses where others walk. Practice thinking and acting for the well-being of others.
4. When someone else tosses a plastic wrapper to the sidewalk, pick it up and stuff it in your pocket for proper disposal later. You need say nothing, for the picture is strikingly clear. You care about the Philippines.
5. When you are driving, yield to pedestrians who have entered the crosswalk; ignore those who honk at you or blast impatiently past, for they are rude and inconsiderate souls, a stark representation of what Filipinos should strive not to be.
I’m not saying this is easy. It is very, very hard.
But through these simple, difficult steps, you will become a person of principle instead of a person of convenience. You will be born again.
When enough Filipinos care about something other than their own advantage, the Philippines will become a nation of conscience, a nation of thought and thoughtfulness, a nation of accomplishment. The nation will become richer of soul and richer of treasure.