Quick Thoughts on EDSA

Getting asked whether I think life was better during Marcos’s time than it is today. I personally think this is a useless question. I’ve said this before, but I don’t know why we’re putting more thought into the legacies of dead and dying men when our own lives need more attention. The message of EDSA isn’t one about a better lifestyle, but about basic humanity: Man has dignity and no dignified man should be ok with living with injustice. The two lessons I draw from EDSA are: 1. When we a large enough group of people unite, seemingly impossible institutions of injustice are toppled. 2. It’s not enough to tear things down. We need to get great at building. It’s easy to destroy things. It’s hard to develop things. It’s easy to criticize, to comment. It’s hard to cultivate. Finally, the hope I draw from EDSA is this: Someday a large enough group will unite to fight injustice daily, particularly the small injustices we are all guilty of, and to focus more on building the future than debating what was and complaining about what is. ‪

Nationalism has less to do who with who we cheer for, more to do with what we stand for, and a lot to do with what we lays our lives for. 

#‎db‬ ‪#‎EDSA‬

In My Culture

There are very few people I can talk to about my dreams. Very few who won’t think I’m nuts, careless, arrogant, or a combination of the three, or who won’t respond with a veiled or not so veiled version of what happens when Icarus flies too close to the sun.

In my culture, people give lip service to faith and courage, yet raise their children to be afraid of God (versus being awed by Him), afraid of man, afraid of risk, afraid of the possible failure that risk brings, and afraid of the sure shame failure brings. In my culture, the wise man doesn’t rock the boat (even if that boat is sinking and people are asleep), doesn’t question the community (even if these communities require complete accountability from him), doesn’t consider doubt because doubt is automatically unbelief. But without shaking things up, everything settles into a nice peaceful bottom like silt. Peaceful, yet at the bottom. Without questions there can be no understanding, and what kind of a community preaches that we must be accountable to it, pay its taxes, and obey its laws, yet never question it? What kind of government promotes transparency without it being transparent?

In my culture, we don’t really want wisdom. We want security. We don’t really want progress. We want comfort. We don’t really want learning. We want dogma. We want superstitions that tell us that if we do this, we get that, no matter how life disproves this simplistic cause and effect.

Because in my culture, what we want to achieve most is our version of a lifestyle sweet spot, a standard of living that is religiously, traditionally, socially, and economically comfortable.

And anyone who decides differently, anyone who questions, anyone who blazes his own trail, anyone who says “This sucks. I’m going to change things.” Is nuts, careless, arrogant, or a combination of the three.

Thoughts on the Events Concerning the SAF and MILF

One thing I’ve decided to be more deliberate with, is to use the indignation I feel for certain things as a chance to reflect on my own contribution to that specific concern. At the moment, it’s the anger I feel for the events that happened with the SAF and MILF.

Here are the questions I’m asking myself:
1. How do I, on a regular basis, contribute to the betterment of the lives of our police and soldiers? Am I a citizen who honors them on a regular basis, like when I’m driving, or parking, or late for work, or being given a ticket? Do I even pray for them? The answer is, not regularly, and I’m ashamed to admit that. If I can’t even do these small things, how can I do the bigger things? Don’t I contribute to the risk they face by not always being law abiding with how I drive? Don’t I contribute to the risk they face by not caring about their daily living conditions? To be honest, I don’t even think of soldiers everyday. I have to change that.

2. How am I contributing to the peace situation between Christians and Muslims? Or have I just accepted that there can be no tolerance? Or worse, am I apathetic to that specific concern? Sadly, and ashamedly, based on my actual actions, I’ve been apathetic. I need to change that by building bridges with Muslims I do know and serving them.

3. How am I becoming a better leader in my own sphere of influence? How am I leading my companies? How am I leading my relationships? How am I leading myself? Am I, in my own small way, showing the faithfulness, trustworthiness, and excellence, I expect from my leaders? Or am I so selfish to expect others to become the citizen I won’t discipline myself to be? Am I giving society a better alternative to the injustice around us? Or am I just a noisy person on social media whose opinion will be forgotten when the next trending thing comes about? Am I even working hard towards someday being in a better position to help through tangible action not just noise?

4. Am I citizen who contributes to society or simply an opinionated person with no quantifiable contribution? Am I an empty drum that rings loud? Am I equipping myself to be that better citizen who contributes or am I living off the goodness of others, expecting the world to be fair and just and secure for me without making the world better for others, starting with my parents?

5. Do I even know our country’s laws? I’m always clamoring for justice, do I even understand what’s just and unjust? Do I know the process of the justice system? Do I hold that system accountable? Do I support people who support justice or do I, in my own ways, through my own shortcuts, support injustice through gossip, through unintelligent damnation of people on social media, through patrimonialism? Or, again, am I apathetic and so dumb to think that complaining changes things even if I don’t do my part? Am I helping to raise a more socially responsible next generation?

I cannot control many of the events happening around me. They’re too big for me. But I can control myself, and I can apply myself to being so wise that I can help the ignorant, so hard working that I can help the poor, so strong so I can help the weak, so faithful so I help others please God, so brave so I can help those afraid, and so humble that I remember that I’m called to be a servant, and a servant does not demand a better world but serves to make that world better. I cannot give the world better if I don’t become better – I cannot give what I’m not. I cannot give the world more if I don’t have more – I cannot give the world what I don’t have.

6. Why am I so quick to demand from others what I myself have not given?

We honor the dead by how we live. We dishonor their sacrifice by living meaningless lives yet feeling entitled to that which we won’t pay for.