Tuesday, November 13, 2007

T, N48

Why Keep On Telling The Story?

Musings on Life, Identity, Society, Mortality, and how it all ties to this form of storytelling.

Part 1: It's not just about me
Part 2: Identity

Part 3: Social Commentary

Written on: My Own Desktop, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
Composition: I don't plan anything. Almost everything I write pretty much just determines it's own course. I may plan and make outlines, but then I wouldn't follow that anyway.

HEAVILY Edited January 2014
Previous Post: Reminders

There is this one vocal artist, activist, sometimes a writer, always a go-to guy for news, talkshow, documentary interviews in the Philippines. I regularly follow him on a certain social media platform. I love his wit, his activism, his bravery in challenging the Philippine status quo, and even in challenging powerful and influential figures and institutions. While I'm sure he can take criticism, he does not know me personally, so I cannot and will not name him in this entry. I respect him and I would like to be in good terms in a future where we may meet professionally. Or put another way: I wouldn't want to get off on the wrong foot, before we've even met.

Thing is, I observed that his brand of modern Philippine nationalism often emphasizes the transgressions of other nations, the violations of other foreign entities, and the incursion of other external forces that have plagued, or are plaguing the motherland. Even internal threats are framed as a violation of Philippine sovereignty instead of being the complex, multi-faceted problems that they perhaps are. Whether it's corruption, secessionist movements, or even the


... even the mass exodus of skilled labour, they have all been attributed to some kind of external force at one point or another.

Now, these are not exactly his gripes, but in general, such sentiments do run deep in the Philippines:
Communist Guerillas? Sponsored by China back in the 70's! Islamic Secessionists? Al Qaeda! Corrupt Government officials? We Filipinos suffer here in the motherland, while their children are educated abroad and their Swiss Bank accounts grow fat, all while the international community tolerates them!! Our world famous dictator?  Reagan supported! Prostitution? Only buoyed by a foreign clientele that sexualizes Asian females! Foreign Debt? IMF! WORLD BANK! Stagnant large local industry? Evil opportunistic corporations!! ARRRRRGGGHHH!!!

Point being: If we just didn't have to contend with these external threats, we would be a lot better off. And if the 'threat' is undeniably homegrown - like the oligarchy of corporations, and the anarchy of families that passes for a political system - then they are portrayed as almost alien, labeled as predatory towards the Filipino. The Philippines and Filipinos are but mere victims in this global endgame of... who knows what.

All good subjects. All things worth talking about. However, they have been done to death now - and by far more competent writers backed by greater research at that!

Now, it's not that I don't want to touch these subjects, it's just that, as a lowly blogger I can probably do much better talking about the things that I am familiar with - things I've personally witnessed and observed. Put in simpler terms: I wish to talk about the everyday things Filipinos do to each other which ensure that the Philippines stays down as an economically depressed, culturally stagnant, and morally unjust country.

Because I feel that we don't have to blame outside forces to fix some (if not most) of what ails the Philippines. Instead of a 'top down' oppression, I have my own view that it could also be seen as a 'bottom up' issue.

It's sad and unfortunate. And just as unfortunately, I have so far failed to narrate too much of these negative things I witnessed.

One excuse I have is that I haven't really gotten around to telling the story of my backpacking, island-hopping adventure. (My last narrative entry was me having a haircut 8 months ago!). I have so far strived to make the narration in the order as things happened, and I'm not about to break tradition.

Regardless of that fact, reading back some of my previous entries, it seems as though I was all praise - full of nothing but an idealized and romanticized view of the 'Motherland'.

Well, even Rizal, with his intense love and veneration for the Philippines, spoke unflatteringly of all the social ills he saw. In Noli Me Tangere, in dedicating his book to the 'Motherland', he wrote:

"...I will attempt to faithfully reproduce your condition without much ado. I will lift part of the shroud that conceals your illness, sacrificing to the truth everything, even my own self-respect, for, as your son, I also suffer in your defects and failings." (*)

Similarly, though not to the same extent and grandeur as Rizal's works, I originally intended for this blog to not only serve as a place where I could tell my story, but also where I can inject my own social commentary.

And so, a third reason to continue telling the story emerges: To analyze the Philippine condition as best as I can. For only in being frank and honest about our own grotesqueries could we ever have a chance of ever fixing them.

Enough of this self-indulgent, 'me me me' crap.

* - From the translation by Soledad Lacson-Locsin.

Next Post: Calls to Home II

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