As an exercise for class, my prof assigned me to write about Independence Day. I was initially reluctant (actually, I still am) to write about it, tempted to just type, “Independence Day? What Independence Day?” and then click Publish. But meh, it doesn’t work that way. And this isn’t Tumblr. So here goes.
Independence Day? What Independence Day?
I think I shall first digress by telling you about two things that happened (and shocked me) during Independence Week. I was supposed to place it under an entry entitled 20th century things/mentalities that I thought (educated) Filipinos have gotten over but apparently have not. Obviously, the title was too long so I scrapped the idea. LOL, no, seriously, I wanted to use that but I only had two examples at that time so again, meh.
Alright, so what were these two things?
STORY #1: LITTERING. Oh my freaking gosh. I can’t believe this is still happening. I mean, I know it still is, just because I still see trash everywhere, but I haven’t seen anyone shamelessly litter in front of me in like, YEARS.
Or I’m just really sheltered.
But anyway, back in grade school, we were always taught the importance of throwing trash in proper receptacles. Back then, “holes in the ozone layer” was used instead of “global warming”. In high school and college, we were taught the importance of segregating our trash and recycling them (Junior year newspaper drive winners, booyah!). Additionally, our school grounds were always so clean (good job, janitorial team!) and the admin always stressed the importance of CLAYGO (Clean As You Go). So yeah, it was pretty much planted in our brains how littering is a bad thing and that if you do it, you are asking to be ostracized.
Exhibit A: a batchmate of mine tweeted something along the lines of, “You’re cute, but you litter. #turnoff,” a few weeks ago. And that just made me laugh ’cause it’s true.
Anyhoo, back to my story. I was on the bus to school when a lady and her husband sat beside me. The lady then brought out a piece of candy, bit off the wrapper with her teeth, popped the candy in her mouth, and threw the wrapper on the floor of the bus. I was all WHAT THE HECK and glared at her. Unfortunately, she didn’t notice my evil stare and apparently, the person they were supposed to meet cancelled on them so they had to get off at the nearest stop (as if that’s uso in the Philippines). When they got off, I grabbed a tissue from my bag, picked up her candy wrapper, and stuffed it in my bag to be disposed of when I got to school. I was still so furious. Just. How rude. And have we still not learned from Typhoon Ondoy?
STORY # 2: THE WHITE SKIN CRAZE. This is a pretty short story. I was on the MRT with two fashionable Jamaican? Ethiopian? Haitian? girls on my left, and a mother and her teenage son on my right. The two girls were talking loudly about something in their language and the mother noticed them and said to her son, “Ang ganda rin nung isang babae, ‘no? *pause* Mas maganda siguro siya kung maputi siya.” Just. What the heck was that.
Why the heck does this obsession with fair skin still exist in our country? Oh yeah, ’cause there are still commercials for Pond’s and those glutathione chevers everywhere! This is crazy. Our naturally brown skins are what make us unique! Do you know that Caucasians would kill to have skin like ours? True story: when I was in LA, a lady stranger approached me in the mall and randomly said, “I love your color! Where are you from?” Ba-bam!
Just. People. Be content with what you have!
And here’s where I segue to the actual topic of this entry. Last June 12, I did not mention anything about the holiday, except maybe when I retweeted this:
Ngayong Araw ng Kasarinlan, matutong gumamit ng PANG-ANGKOP at alamin ang wastong gamit ng DIN, RIN, NG at NANG.
— gosh (@oshkoshb) June 12, 2012
I was never really an Independence Day cynic. I remember when I was young, I would always make tiny Philippine flags out of art paper and stick them outside my door or outside the gate of our home. And how about during the centennial year? I remember shopping for centennial paraphernalia with my family and friends back then (centennial shirts, pillows and bumper stickers, anyone?).
I guess what happened is that I grew up, saw what we’ve become as a nation, and realized that we haven’t really made full use of our so-called freedom.
We’re not really free.
We’re not really free because in our everyday lives, we always choose to get ahead of everyone else. A simple example of this would be traffic in Metro Manila. Drivers rarely give way to other drivers (or even pedestrians!). Have you seen the lanes around the metro? They’re practically non-existent, with everyone swerving and changing lanes just to get ahead. Instead of working together, we bring each other down para lang makalamang. Crab mentality, anyone?
How about bus lady? If she cared about our country, she wouldn’t have littered. But she only thought about herself. ‘Cause I mean, really, one wrapper won’t make a difference. *rolls eyes*
We’re not really free because we succumb to all those stupid beauty standards. You should have fair skin and that pinkish white glow! You should totally get a nose job! You should have your hair rebonded!
Don’t even get me started about that new Bayo ad. Tsk.
We’re not really free because we don’t support our own stuff. We don’t support our local artists and inventors as much as we should. Can you say abundance of talent? We could be the world’s producer of solar-powered cars by now. We could be bringing P-Pop (whut) to the world. What’s sadder is that we only recognize the talent that we have once other countries have recognized them. Pacquiao? Charice? Jessica Sanchez and all the other Fil-American Idols?
We’re not really free because we still rely on money from other countries to keep our economy afloat. Which easily brings us back to crab mentality. Some government employees only think about themselves when they steal taxpayers’ money. All that money we could have used to educate the masses, fix highways, create more MRTs, feed the hungry, provide proper healthcare, etc. And how about the MNCs? We shall forever be their (corporate) slaves.
Anyway, I shall stop now. I just really wanted to give an explanation as to why I have sort of lost my national pride. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Philippines, I really do, and the Filipino people have a lot of positive qualities to be proud of. I know I’m sort of being a hypocrite by yapping and being cynical about this topic but I believe it’s best to be aware about the situation and try your best to do something about it, rather than not at all. The truth hurts, but if you’re secure enough and believe in your country’s potential, you won’t take this the wrong way and instead, work to get rid of your country’s flaws.
Just my two cents. Tama na, sabaw na akech.
Happy Independence Day, two weeks too late. Let’s make this country an even better place! 🙂