Persistence

The way I see it, the reason Philippines has not yet arrived or has difficulty arriving is because it lacks persistence.  Like a child with severe ADHD, it cannot stay on course because it gets distracted by the many little paths off the main road and subsequently uses up all of its time and energy in pursuit of these paths.  At one point, if it comes to that at all, it will pause to reconsider nagging thoughts:  how has it come to that particular path and why was it on the main road in the first place?

Yesterday was the anniversary of People Power (EDSA I) organized 28 years ago that ousted then President Marcos (though failed to oust his significant others, meaning his cronies who have stayed behind and continue to give the people migraines).  Every year, national leaders and supporters of that revolution bemoan around this date the current national situation which remains unchanged or not much better than it was pre-revolution.  As I said, it’s not the lack of ambition but of persistence.

Take the still unresolved multibillion tax or PDAF scam involving top public officials (Senators and Members of Congress).  Beating around the bush with the aim to confuse and frustrate the public is an all too familiar pattern.  Just recently the public was served with Janet Napoles’ vagina, tweeted by the major television news networks and radio stations.  It was even tweeted that the cyst found inside is three centimeters long!; that there wasn’t profuse bleeding as feared.  The masses, ignorant to the point of bliss, must’ve had a field day dissecting the information.  For its part, the Philippine National Police whose physicians did the examination, went out of its way to organize a press conference after to inform media and the public that Napoles’ ovaries are cancer free.  False alarm.  Who paid for all these but the public!  Oh god my god.  Worse, the journalist-tweeters failed to understand the real significance of the matter — that, crook or not, and I don’t know about you but my vagina is not for public consumption.  Even prostitutes don’t sell themselves to 90M people at once!  Don’t these journalists know the basic rights of prisoners?  It’s their job to know whenever they cover stories about this group.  Anyway.  The point is, these are the little paths off the main road that national leaders, in this case the media, get distracted with.

Einstein said it well

Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.

The cynic would say it’s not as if these aren’t happening in more advanced or civilized societies, say, the US, so go take a hike.  Chill.  It’s true.  History records the unique brand of folly committed in the US, but the difference between us and them is that redemption can be gained through the same system that erred or promoted the error, via men and women as ordinary as Erin Brokovich or as high profile as Daniel Ellsberg.  This is a constant feature of the system inspite of its imperfections.  This, the way I see it, is what makes America the great country that it is and why Filipino immigrant-applicants are hellbent on the American Dream.  It is everything that the Philippine Dream has not delivered.

Here, the system can be likened to a nice looking apple that when opened you see the core infested with worms which have eaten most of its flesh, rendering the whole fruit inedible.  There is nothing as disconsolate and heartbreaking a situation as citizens having to face insurmountable barriers before they could even own a piece of land in their own country.  Usually, it would take several generations before someone from the bloodline finally owns property.  In the countryside, here, especially in the Visayas, land ownership two centuries after the colonizers from Spain are long gone is still based on the hacienda system.  (Going further, the country’s elected leaders are or come from a bloodline of mestizo land owners or hacienderos.  To me this explains why they treat the rest of the country as their help and tillers, expecting complete obedience because something in their genetic makeup tells them the rest are their chattels.)  Bob Marley in his song says

Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.  None but ourselves can free our minds.

The PDAF Scam and corrupt acts in government are symptoms of unresolved deep-seated issues of the Filipino, just as kleptomania has roots in psychological illness.  But, national leaders, media included, who are primarily responsible to shape a program of moral and psychological recovery for Filipinos and direct Filipinos toward their recovery are themselves stuck in the very qualities that, aware of it or not, have and continue to divert people away from the real issues.  Media has to remind itself frequently that the Philippines in its present state is not the US from whom it borrows a large part of its programming format and “curriculum” or content; that unlike audiences in the US, the mass of Filipinos watching or listening is largely illiterate (heck, many of the country’s village chiefs are!) hence incapable to synthesize information in the way that more mature audiences can.  How do you move up this audience to the level of the elite – the educated, monied, well travelled, beautiful and privileged, beautiful and lucky, beautiful and talented – of the country?  What’s the time period?  How can I also make profit out of this?  These are what the media networks should ask itself yesterday.  Network producers ought to finance themes more relevant to the present times.  They should study how to profit from stories promoting ambition (countryside folks are vague about this value but one can’t ever hope to realize greatness or even a dream without first having ambition hence how can media help them rethink their perspective of this value), hard work, sacrifice, faith, and persistence.

The American Dream can be made a reality here.  The country’s elite, media included, has to lead the way.  To stay on course until results are achieved.  Persist, so says Calvin Coolidge

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

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