A Hope for the Right Choice

           Perhaps you’re tired of reading another article about our country; I know it’s already deafening to hear more news about national crises, shouts in the streets against government corruption, classroom discussions about the country’s grueling history, and even trivial tittle-tattle of bystanders who do nothing but complain about the country – everyone has something to say about the Philippines. And forgive me for not sparing you from another talk about it; I take this rare chance to broadcast my thoughts and insights about our beloved motherland and perchance my words may be of good purpose.

            Maybe it’s the consequence of being mandated to sing the National Anthem and recite the Panatang Makabayan every school morning from nursery ‘til highschool.  I could still remember my teachers ceaselessly saying over and over to stand up straight, sing louder, say the words correctly, look at the flag, respect the flag, love the flag.  Yes, they taught us – innocent and gullible children – that singing the national anthem correctly is showing love for our nation and that we must, I repeat must, love our country.  Yeah, she had a point, a somehow shallow one but nevertheless a point, and that idea stuck to my brain and made me cultivate a sense of responsibility and love for my nation.

            But come to think of it, what do you get from loving “a political state or nation or its territory (quoted from Merriam-Webster dictionary)?” You don’t get anything directly; in fact it’s even bothersome to be always thinking about the country’s problems and troubling yourself with concern for others instead of just focusing on your own problems and your own life’s affairs.

            Picture this: you are a model citizen – you follow the all rules, pay due taxes, and keep your surroundings clean, but then you look around you and see people violate traffic regulations that put you on hold, unfinished infrastructure problems funded by the people’s money including yours, and trash everywhere that causes destructing floods even with the slightest rain.  But turn that around and imagine not doing all those things.  Wouldn’t it be much worse? You’d aggravate the situation and cause yourself and others more problems.

See, you are part of a greater whole and your every move affects at least one person.  Do not just box your perspective to yourself, but always look at the big picture because you cannot do without other people.  You can’t just blame the system and do nothing; you are part of the system therefore you have the choice to change it.  So, no, you don’t get anything directly from loving your country, but as a whole and in the long run, you, and everybody else, will have a better life and future.

Disappointingly, it seems that most Filipinos don’t get the bigger picture.  They go on with their lives working for themselves, serving their own wants and needs, constantly striving to get the gold and be on top, even to the point that they step on other people’s feet to get ahead.  They complain about the country’s state and how a huge inconvenience it gives to their own lives, but they don’t do anything about it.

Maybe this is the reason why a lot of Filipinos want to pack up and leave the country as soon as possible because they can’t take all the ugliness and catastrophe saturating the Philippines.  What they don’t realize is that all that’s wrong with the country is the people’s indifference and self-serving mind-set and that escaping will not change anything.  In fact, if all Filipinos would think the same – that it’s better to go on to greener pastures and leave this busted country – who else would save it?  No one, then in that case it would be better to just wipe out the whole archipelago.

But thankfully, there are still those who honestly care and would not let the country be blown up to pieces – people who relentlessly fight for change and be the change themselves; they keep the nation together and make me hope for that better life and future in the Philippines.  Perhaps if more people become part of the group who cares, not just for themselves but for others and the nation as a whole, then this country would be a better place to live in.

So I ask you, dear reader, do not give up hope for our motherland; too many people have shed their sweat, tears, and blood to make this a free and peaceful place to live in.  Though the twists in history marred the once beautiful image of the country, there is still time to salvage what’s left of it and cultivate that to make it something better.  The main solution is to throw away apathy and pessimism and turn them into concern, hope, and action.  And there’s no better time to do it but now.



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