While most Filipinos in the social media overly expresses their amazement over the recognition figure skater Michael Christian Martinez in the 2014 Winter Olympics garnered, some are plain happy for his success. Saying, “Yeah, of course he is Pinoy”, makes me cringe though. Why can’t we stop saying that? False patriotism is not ever flattering to read or hear because it’s also too quick for us to judge when a Filipino commits a crime, our politicians is not even part of that equation.
The life of Michael Christian Martinez and the struggles that he and his mom has to face is unbelievable. Once again, a mother’s love proved to be the greatest strength and the ultimate source of support and determination. For every man’s success is a woman and it’s most of the time a mother. How his mother’s willingness to do everything and anything is beyond belief. I envy our first ever winter Olympian, I would kill for a mother like that. An individual in the stance of Michael ups my hope for the world, at 17, he showed each and everyone of us how to fight for our dreams. What he has is passion, a passion that most of us have given up or for some have regretfully and forcefully has to abandon.
Whether Michael gets a medal in the Winter Olympics or not, he has already proved everyone that he knows what he wants and he will stop at nothing to get it. He will either go on and eventually be the Champion or find some other passion; but the truth of the matter is that he is already there- he is already living that moment. He has shown me and the rest of us that everything is possible, I mean everything. I hope that young Filipinos would learn of what this experience have brought Michael in his life, and not just mere brag that he is a Filipino. Filipino or not, this Olympian has marked his existence in the world and that what we know about hope, dreams and fighting for them knows no season.
Branding and judgment, we cannot put those two in separate bowls. Simply because when we brand we judge and vice versa. We have brands of clothes, medicines, and food because we mark each of them lesser or greater than the others. It has become human nature to put a wall and differentiate ourselves from the rest. Whoever started it influenced a whole great deal of humanity because today we have 2 major distinctions-the rich and the poor. With this tagging comes a society who loves exclusivity, and in our search for belongingness we become discriminatory and mean. Even in our small group of islands, we compete on who is more sophisticated, more educated, intelligent and classy.
Manila. I set foot in Manila with my husband and kid and with no plans. No plans on where to go and no plans on what to do. We jumped on the plane thinking of doing spontaneous acts during our vacation. We just wanted to see Manila, one of the stuff on our bucket list. Husband and me have both grown in the small island in the Visayas and have only been in 3 or 4 islands so far-and we have more than 1,700 islands in this country. We were both thrilled about this trip because we have been set to go to Enchanted Kingdom courtesy of my brother. As it turned out, our trip went great. We met a few of my husband’s relatives there, and we had quite a VIP treatment.
On our first day in Manila, we went malling. As if Cebu malls were not sufficient, but truth is, we just wanted to go some place familiar and no other place greater than the inside of a mall. I almost forgot that we were in Manila that I often speak vernacular to the store clerks and cashiers. They just go open their mouths as a hint that they did not understand me, and then I go talk in English which is worse. A Filipino talking to a stranger Filipino in english is a show-off, that is a fact. I find it weird though that Cebuanos are more comfortable talking in English than in our national language. As for me, I did not want to embarrass myself speaking improperly in a language and being laughed at.
It has been of annoyance to a few people living in Luzon that some Bisaya prefer English than Tagalog. But yes, Bisaya do that because we talk English more than Tagalog. A brother of mine was bullied on his first few months working in Manila just because he is a “Bisaya”, until such time that he got promoted and they call him “Sir”. I am not sure how the battle of supremacy started, and I begin to wonder why there’s a necessity for that. If we have to label ourselves from the region where we come from, how can we be united as a nation? The elite and the exclusive. We oh so love being part of a league and we begin to associate our lives primarily to that. We are just one nation, we are Filipinos. We belong to a very big group. Isn’t that exclusive enough?
Many Tagalogs and Bisayas go along pretty well. Some get married and some are best friends. But until we stop listening to intonation and accent we shall always be victims and culprits of labels and branding. Who is more intelligent, rich and pretty? I don’t want to start with that.
Along other news this morning is an unlikely headline about Oprah, the Media Mogul being a victim of Racism in Switzerland. According to CNN, International Desk segment, Oprah went inside a store and asked the sales person about a bag named after Jennifer Aniston and was refused. She was told more than once during the conversation that she can’t afford such bag. The bag accordingly was only worth over $30,000 (oh, 5 zeroes- right!).
It’s either they did not recognize Oprah or because Oprah has been off the grid the past years that they sort of forgot about her or thought she’s broke (Oprah or not, it’s an insult to refuse someone to take a look at a merchandise on display).
The store apparently said that it was a total misunderstanding.
I have no idea about this news until a friend of mine posted a link on Facebook. This pork-barrel scandal is all over social media and have caused angry masses and public scrutiny calling for investigation and justice.
Politics is a complex and frustrating topic that I avoid writing. It is exhausting and stressful. In as much as I share the sentiments of most of the middle class expressing their views and disgust on the country’s corruption, I also find it sad that the this news will not reach majority of the Filipinos, the indigent and those in the provinces where internet connection is a privilege and soap operas appeal more than would-impact-our-country news. Why? It’s not because they don’t care, these people also feel hopeless. These days, they are way too busy thinking of their own basic necessities. Yes, they must know and they must get involved but they feel too insignificant to bother-and that’s a sad truth.
In the provinces, many people believe that they owe to politicians every service they get from the government. And they fear for their lives so they shut up from every injustice and every unfair practices. In the City we so loudly shout “STOP CORRUPTION” while we drop names, and yet these are the same people who gets voted every election. Our government is corrupt in its core but did we really try to reach out to our families and relatives in the provinces to educate them of what we think they should know? I myself fell prey of that system. It frustrates me but I felt powerless.
These news about Janet Lim Napoles and their wealth, did it really reach the masses? I doubt that majority of them reads these English texts (I am not belittling them, but most of my neighbors hate reading and listening to English transcripts especially about politics). Some goes online to open Facebook. They don’t Google to find news. Another sad thought are the comments I read saying that our country is hopeless and that we have no chance of redeeming our selves. That the corruption is already a way of life and neither can be abolished. Is that how we are now?
What amused me with this news, as always, is Sen. Miriam Santiago’s viewpoints on the issue at hand. If this is really true, I hope that these greedy, power-hungry people show some self-respect and leave. Or thick-face in the name of power and money the new virtue now?
I really pray we are not that hopeless nor that ignorant in our rights. When we get really mad when people from other countries mock us. Can we at least walk the talk? I hope so.