I wrote a couple of articles ago that the Philippines is like amoebae in a Petri dish, lots of activity bouncing about going nowhere. Let me expound on this a bit more to explain what I think COULD be a very different situation.
The Current Conditions
The Philippines can't be compared to the United States. The Philippines does not have a large immigrant population striving to prove itself, striving for wealth. It has mainly native Filipinos striving to be laid back, powerful and rich, if getting rich can be done the easy way, by taking advantage of people with less power. Ambition, or competing for advancement based on skills, is not in the cards because there are few places where one can carve out a career path. All the upward bound avenues are plugged by relatives and favorites of the boss.
The education system teaches obedience, not innovation. Not ambition or the pride of fair play. Memorize this, line up there, wear this, read that, take next week off for the fiesta.
The President is an earnest guy doing his best to fight corruption and get the economy untracked. He talks too much, patting his own back a lot, and is not crisply decisive when facing controversy. Take the Health and Reproduction Bill. He tries to walk both sides of the debate, wanting to appear socially modern whilst not being too offensive to the Catholic Church. So the Bill languishes, lacking his personal stamp of approval and demand for passage.
The whole country just subsists, like the President. Going nowhere. Getting by.
It's not good enough.
JoeAm's Methodology: a Wrench between the Eyeballs
What is the point of being polite? If you can't handle the heat, push the delete button and rid your computer of Joe Am. Go to the nearest mango tree, suck a gallon of tuba and coke, and dream about getting laid.
For the boldest amongst you, shout "enough of this laid back shit! I want to be a part of something more energetic, more purposeful, more accomplished!"
Organize your thinking as to what you want to see happen: A progressive, growing Philippines that casts off the shackles of its subservient colonial history and the lackadaisical malaise that infests the Philippine work ethic.
This will take effort. It is no walk on the beach. It is no sail in the sun. It is no stroll in the mall.
List the deeds you want to see accomplished. My list:
- A better system of education that uses technology to bridge the gap between overwhelming masses of students and a limited number of quality educators. A school system that is free so that education is available to all, not just those of means.
- A globally recognized court system that is obsessed with justice. Courts that are efficient, because justice is best if it is immediate. Courts that are free of fees and administrative red tape, for justice is best if it is available to all. Judges who pride themselves on being non-political and law-based.
- Standards of modern living that are not anchored in the 16th century by the Catholic Church. Availability of divorce, for it is common sense that if people discover they are best apart instead of locked in a dysfunctional partnership, they ought to go their own ways. Availability of birth control education and methods, for it is compassionate to see women as something other than baby factories.
- A secular Philippines that attacks Muslim disenfranchisement with jobs and good deeds instead of guns and bombs.
- A national mining program that keeps resources and profits in the Philippines rather than shipping them to foreign lands.
- A realistic tourist program that identifies the top 10 attractions for foreigners and builds modern tourism infrastructure supporting them, that ends the wasteful shotgun splatter of slogans and misleading ads hyping tourism but is nothing more than hot air pasted over polluted beaches.
- A mammoth sea-faring nation with a network of harbors and freeports that surpass anything Hong Kong or Singapore can offer.
- The call center capital of the world, with specialized colleges teaching management of call center activities as well as call technology, English, phone and computer skills.
- A self-powered nation, drawing energy from sunshine, geothermal wells, tides and oil and gas resources within Philippine territory.
- An ecologically aware nation, working to end pollution, deforestation, raping of the seas and urban congestion.
Here is the formula for activism: Pick one of the initiatives you are passionate about and go to work on it. Find out who is leading the push and join in. If no one is driving things, start your own initiative. If you can't figure out how to do it, gather up a few partners, no more than seven. Study up how other organizations handle advocacy. Hash it out over a beer or two. Bounce ideas around until you have a plan. Then act.
If you can't find passion for any of the initiatives, go directly to the tuba table and waste your life.
A Point of Curiosity
If Joe Am can list a simple and clear set of priorities for the nation, how come its President can't? Is he just another reactive Jose? Passive? Awaiting for events to show him the way, rather than showing events the way?