Identity Crisis & The Social Class: The Filipino Problem

The Filipino is worth dying for.

Or is it? Are we? Or more of, is the Filipino still worth living for? Given the kind of stereotypical society we have today, that is more of the relevant question.  Ferdinand E. Marcos himself once said, “if this is life, I’d rather die”. In a nutshell, we have a stagnating government menaced both sides by radical Islamic extremists on one end, and left-wing insurgents on another.  That’s how our current political strata is defined.  To be fairly honest, I think we should just sit down and watch them bleed each other to death.

If there’s a dream I have, it is to change the Philippine society as we know it today. Despite the reality that the nation is at the brink, and our brethren migrates abroad so foreign masters could benefit from their talents, I still believe the Philippines could survive somehow.  I love this country despite its hopelessness, and given the chance to help change it, I would dream to do so.  But to dare revolutionize the system, more so influence our people to align with our thinking, we must first rebuild if not search, for the true Filipino identity.  Does such identity even exist? Three hundred years of Spanish colonization, five years of Japanese fascist occupation, and more than fifty years of American imperialism up to the present.  Today, the Chinese and Spanish quasi-dynasties control the business class within the confines of their families.  The corporate giants, the majority of lands, are owned by a silent minority.  A handful of familiar family surnames virtually control the entire country, with the government playing the role as just a mere caretaker.  More often than not in the country’s modern history, critical events are shaped and choreographed all the way from the Oval Office in the White House.

Even the society’s enemies are not original and authentic Filipino. We have the Islamic extremists funded and controlled by the global terrorists Al Qaeda and ISIS, and we have the Leftist insurgents controlled by an exile in the Netherlands, who lives and breathes the Chinese Mao Tse Tung Thought philosophy.  Where is the Filipino context in all that?  The mere citizens?  Even us, the ordinary modern Pinoy, have no distinct identities in our native DNA. We are interbred by tremendous racial mixture through centuries both in blood and in culture. Even the very names we hold on to today are all ‘borrowed’ and ‘given’. The country was named after a Spanish King and so are the majority of our family names. The natives were nameless predating the arrival of Magellan, and simultaneous with the baptism of the Catholic faith, they also ‘handed out identities’ to our people like employee ID numbers in the name of the King, in the name of the Cross, in the name of the Saints – hence, Delos Reyes, Dela Cruz, Delos Santos, respectively, and countless other names that constitute our modern houses.

Our faith, independence, government and laws, were all given, not earned.

Both the proletariat and bourgeois factions of Bonifacio and Aguinaldo spilled countless blood on the road to liberation from 3 centuries of Spanish control, only to end in vain and insult through the choreographed and scripted Battle of Manila Bay between Spain and America. After more than 50 years, the Americans then ‘gave’ our independence and sovereignty that comes with a fabricated Constitution carbon-copied from their own, only far more dysfunctional. Even our national flag, under the pressured Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo’s helpless temporary position, was specifically designed after the colors of America, contrary to what our schools have been teaching us. The sun, the stars, the red-blue-white schemes and its meanings and symbolisms were just glamoured folklore to make us believe that we have earned our own identity. These are all fabricated, as secret documents between Aguinaldo and Mabini exist that validates clearly that the flag’s design and colors are instructed to be modeled after America, the dramatic meanings just followed.

Our faith, independence, government and laws, were all given, not earned. Even the flag is an imitation in a certain point of view. No wonder our country experiences Identity Crisis until now. Ironic that we boast Filipino Ingenuity to the world. Despite the odds though, we can give credit to Manuel Quezon for establishing the national language (more commonly known as Tagalog), although a mixture of Latin American, Spanish, and Malay – its unique form can at least be labeled as authentic. The only setback is that we lack our own form of writing unlike our Asian neighbors. Sadly, where Quezon succeeded in cementing the language, he failed by embracing the English alphabet as our own. What is proudly authentic are the hundreds of native/provincial dialects we have that roots back to our diverse authentic native culture. Agriculture is our primary export resources yet ironically we now import rice, fruits and vegetables from other countries when our country should be self-sustaining with it. These are all the effects of multi-western imperialism that has exploited our race throughout our history.

And what about the social classes, whose gap grows even further apart each passing decade?

Poverty and corruption in government are the two tumors that the motherland endures painfully for many years. The classic struggle between rich and poor, master and slave, lord and peasant. Alas, the unending battle between the bourgeois and the proletariat, as the Communists have justified this struggle for a hundred years since Marx and Engels laid down their utopian theory, and since Lenin twisted it, worsened by Stalin, Mao, Kim, Pol Pot, Castro, all the way to our very own Jose Maria Sison.  Can I state it as the battle between good and evil? Absolutely not, as the definitions of good or evil in today’s standards are clearly absurd.

Like most, I am mostly appalled with the elite class of our society (bourgeois), the same way that I am often disappointed with the undisciplined urban poor (proletariat). In my view, both classes are the ones responsible for the continuous suffering of the nation’s economy.  This is what separates my thinking from the Communist/ Leftist ideal, contrary to what many might think or accuse me of.  The classic analogy that the greedy bourgeois are the ones responsible for the increasing poverty of the majority urban poor masses, as we can argue that the gullible poor are the reasons why the abusive elites and oligarchs are increasing their wealth evermore.  The ‘proletariat’ of our existing society continuously succumb to the elites’ deceitful schemes to use them for the latter’s benefit.  They are contented with the status quo of life for them as they know it, refusing to improve and even obstructing progress by willingly allowing themselves to be slaves (either literally or figuratively) by the powerful bourgeois minority.  Arguably, we can then rest our hopes in the middle class, the true laborers (not the ones controlled by radical leftists), and responsible upper class.  They are the ones who truly keep the economy surviving.

The Philippines is not hopeless, and being a Filipino is worth it, even if it means living hard.

To the elite and oligarchs, everyone can agree that they should go down from their ivory towers and see from themselves what’s it really like to live in sweat, and face reality itself that society ‘is not ok’.  To the masses, they should rise up from their muds and face reality that life can’t simply go on that way.  Imagine a Philippines where our people need not to go to other countries and serve foreign masters just to bring food on their family’s tables. A time when they need not to do that because life in this country is good and the government could provide…I dream of that.  Because my own family had to face that – because life here is intolerable. That’s the irony.  That’s what drives me.  Filipinos should not go away and serve other nations as exports to keep the economy afloat.  They ought to live here and serve their dying nation.  I would love to change that sad fact. I am a victim of families scattered around the world, loved ones who endure being apart just to bring education, food and future. That’s ‘surviving’, it’s not ‘living’. And I’ll say to the day I die, to the most Filipinos I could tell to – that “America is not the world”.  The western stereotypes have diluted our true identity, slowly erasing our culture and traditions, conquering everything in our society from economy, entertainment, way of living, to family values, morals, and philosophy. Why can’t we, the proud Filipinos, begin establishing our own by starting in small gestures like patronizing authentic Filipino products, brands and art, through media and modern commerce. By ending the cult of imitation from other cultures and start genuinely cultivating unique ideas of our own. By our own. Love our own. By developing our own sciences and technologies, by strengthening traditional family values as our ancestors once practiced. The Philippines is not hopeless, and being a Filipino is worth it, even if it means living hard.

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