Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Project 52 2012 (24/52): On Filipino Pride (And Why I'm Not Entirely Proud Of It)

.:Project 52 2012 (24/52): On Filipino Pride (And Why I'm Not Entirely Proud Of It):.

Insert generic patriotic image here. That works.

This will not be an "I hate being a Filipino!" post.

In fact, this will be a post to celebrate Independence day: the day we decided to declare to the world that hey, we are a nation that deserves to run this country as we see fit. We are a nation that would rather see this country run like hell by Filipinos than see it run like heaven by Americans. We are a nation that got our wish, for good or bad.

You know why I am proud of being a Filipino? Because of what we have achieved. I am not proud of being a Filipino in and by itself, because that is an errand for fools. I am not proud of being a Filipino for an achievement that I cannot take any part in, like punching a bunch of Mexicans so many times that I get paid the annual income of a tiny country every single time I do it. Don't even ask me what I think about the Pacquiao fight the other day because I couldn't even be bothered to watch any of his fights. I'm simply not a fan.

I don't want to get into this too much because I want to enjoy my holiday, but let's face it, guys: for a country rife with poverty, corruption, and so many other problems, we're doing what we can and doing a respectable job at it despite what all the naysayers keep trying to tell us.

Is it perfect? Obviously not. Could it be better? Definitely so. But one thing I refuse to accept is that the Filipino has simply stopped trying. I simply cannot believe that is the case, no matter how bad things are getting here.

And it is my hope that this kind of devotion to doing our part to make the Philippines a better place isn't brought about by blind patriotism or a vapid sense of nationalism. I'd like to think that we have people actively fighting to save the Philippine seas and its diversity of marine life because not only do they believe in their cause, but because they believe that it can be done. I'd like to think that Freethinkers participating in the democratic process in the struggle to fight the RH Bill are doing it because they believe 11 maternal deaths each day in this country are worth preventing.

Am I proud of world-class talent coming from our nation, like say, Charice or Lea Salonga? Well, why wouldn't I? All I'm saying is that this kind of pride shouldn't be enough for me to turn on my blinders to anything contrary. I don't even begrudge Manny his success in boxing. I just can't be bothered to watch his fights. It isn't rocket science, really.

Ultimately, I am proud that as a nation, we refuse to give up. The only way I could personally justify that kind of pride is, obviously, to continue never giving up on this country, as well. And that takes words and action. A lot of action.

I've been grappling with the concept of "Filipino pride" ever since I've seen it get wounded so many times by issues that seemed trivial at best. We've had Chip Tsao, Desperate Housewives, Alec Baldwin, and so many others that I can't recall at the moment. Through it all, I couldn't help but feel that for a country that claims so much "Pinoy Pride," we come off as pretty insecure when every little thing pertaining to Filipinos never fails to catch our attention, and we blow a lot of it out of proportion. Yeah, that includes the Bourne Legacy trailer.

So what is the point of all this? I'll be honest and say: the point is to get people to thinking. How does one become proud of his heritage without turning into a zealot? Are patriotism and objectivity truly mutually exclusive? These are questions I'm willing to grapple with, but I fully recognize I don't have all the answers. I guess all I want to do is to get people to start thinking for themselves, and seeing where that leads us. It isn't such a novel concept, I know.

But it does follow the spirit of Independence Day.

Someday, we too, can punch an alien in the face and get a ciga-cigar. 
But we just bite it, we don't light it.

I take pride in our celebration of our Independence Day. May we never forget the sacrifices our forefathers have made for what we enjoy today, and give our future children more reasons to be proud of their heritage.

May we never rest on our laurels. There is still so much work to do.

No comments: